Distribution Channels


This is a 1:1 copy from private notes on the subject that I jotted down a while ago.

Distribution channels that could be implemented in AirlineSim:

  • Classic GDSs via BSPs and travel agents
    • regular end-customer travel agencies
    • corporate travel agencies
    • online travel agencies
  • Direct distribution through own reservation system
    • online/website
    • callcenters
    • ticket offices

Preferences for and likelihood of choosing a particular channel depend on the attributes of the generated travel request and the location it comes from.

Distribution channels also have to be known to the population the request comes from. Classic channels like travel agents will have a baseline popularity, while that of direct channels - aka the individual providers - depends on various factors:

  • presence in the local market
  • size of that presence (single airport vs. whole network etc.)
  • marketing and PR spend
  • novelty bonuses
  • airline image
  • regional factors like preference for same nationality/language, access to internet etc.
  • accrued customer loyalty within certain market segments (mileage programs etc.)
  • artificial (game design) factors like newbie bonuses etc.

Aspects like “access to internet” could actually be based on real-world stats by country and/or region, causing distribution channels to slowly fade in over time as the tech becomes available, while there’s always a certain amount of travellers that simply can’t use online channels.

Direct deals with OTAs and large corporate travel agencies could add another level of interactivity.

Part of generating a distribution request is figuring out which distribution channels will be used. For that, all potential channels are collected into a pool and, just like with most other request attributes, a sub-set of channels is fetched pseudo-randomly from said pool. Down the line, only connections/fares available through these channels are taken into account and compared.


Just like Passenger Service Systems (PSSs), this helps to really differentiate different business models and gives more flavor to different parts of the world. It also ties together a lot of other (potential) features like marketing/PR, loyalty programs, GDSs/BSPs etc.


Depends on Passenger Service Systems (PSSs) and all transitive dependencies, as well as Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Billing and Settlement Plans (BSP).