A Global Distribution System, or GDS, is what airlines use to share their fares with travel agents and travel sites. Raw GDS listings are only available to licensed travel agents who can directly access them through programs such as Sabre, Travelport or Amadeus, and special software is required to actually book a flight. Becoming an accredited agent or travel consultant is an expensive and time-consuming process, so consumers are better served by utilizing travel agents or online agencies to access GDS listings.
Determine if a travel agent or major airline booking tool is the best choice for your travel needs. A travel agent may charge a fee to book travel, but can provide more personalized care. Trips with multiple stops or destinations are often easier to book through a travel agent due to the complexity. Online booking agencies may or may not charge a booking fee, and tend to have more generic results, but can be more convenient than a travel agent. Online tools allow travelers to view GDS listings for airline travel in real time 24 hours a day.
Provide your destination information to your agent of choice. Be sure to consider departure dates and times, as well as locations for connections. For a travel agent, this can take place in person or over the phone. Agents may also email travel choices. Online tools require travelers to enter airport and departure information into a website. GDS listing results are generally available within seconds and can be viewed side by side.
Review the results. Once you’ve provided the details, the agent or agency will be able to provide you with the GDS listings related to your request.