COMPUTER RESERVATION SYSTEMS: ACTION NEEDED TO BETTER MONITOR THE CRS INDUSTRY AND ELIMINATE CRS BIASES

Airline-owned computer reservation systems (CRSs) have come to be used for over 90% of travel agents' domestic airline sales. This report focuses on possible biases toward the airline whose internal reservation system is housed within the CRS it owns. Such systems are called "hosted" CRSs. The design, or "architecture", of hosted CRSs makes it easier and more reliable to obtain information and book flights on the host airline than on other participating airlines. This "architectural bias" could undermine airline competition by artificially transferring passengers--and therefore revenues--from airlines that do not control CRSs to those that do. Even though there is disagreement over the extent and significance of existing differences, CRS vendors and airlines generally agree that differences, to the extent they exist, should be eliminated. The lack of current information makes it difficult to determine whether separating CRSs from their owners' internal reservation systems (dehosting) would eliminate significant differences in CRS treatment of host and participating airlines more effectively than current and proposed technologies would. Recommended DOT actions include requiring CRS vendors to remove all of the functional differences in treatment between host and participating airlines that can be removed without dehosting, and data acquisition and analysis on the reliability of CRS data communication linkages and on the cost of dehosting CRSs.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Public Works and Transportation, House of Representatives.
  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1992-3

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 28 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00620652
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-92-130
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1992 12:00AM