Computer reservations system
A computer reservations system or central reservation system (CRS) is a computerized system used to store and retrieve information and conduct transactions related to air travel. Originally designed and operated by airlines, CRSes were later extended for the use of travel agencies. Major CRS operations that book and sell tickets for multiple airlines are known as global distribution systems (GDS). Airlines have divested most of their direct holdings to dedicated GDS companies, who make their systems accessible to consumers through Internet gateways. Modern GDSes typically allow users to book hotel rooms and rental cars as well as airline tickets. They also provide access to railway reservations and bus reservations in some markets, although these are not always integrated with the main system. *
In 1946, American Airlines installed the first automated booking system, the experimental electromechanical Reservisor. A newer machine with temporary storage based on a magnetic drum, the Magnetronic Reservisor, soon followed. This system proved successful, and was soon being used by several airlines, as well as Sheraton Hotels and Goodyear for inventory control. It was seriously hampered by the need for local human operators to do the actual lookups; ticketing agents would have to call a booking office, whose operators would direct a small team operating the Reservisor and then read the results over the telephone. There was no way for agents to directly query the system. Remote access
In 1953, Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) started investigating a computer-based system with remote terminals, testing one design on theUniversity of Toronto's Manchester Mark 1 machine that summer. Though successful, the researchers found that input and output was a major problem. Ferranti Canada became involved in the project and suggested a new system using punched cards and a transistorizedcomputer in place of the unreliable tube-based Mark I. The resulting system, ReserVec, started operation in 1962, and took over all booking operations in January 1963. Terminals were placed in all of TCA's ticketing offices, allowing all queries and bookings to complete in about one second with no remote operators needed. In 1953, American Airlines CEO C. R. Smith chanced to sit next to R. Blair Smith, a senior IBM sales representative, on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. C.R. invited Blair to visit their Reservisor system and look for ways that IBM could improve the system. Blair alerted Thomas Watson Jr. that American was interested in a major collaboration, and a series of low-level studies started. Their idea of an automated airline reservation system (ARS) resulted in a 1959 venture known as the Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment (SABRE), launched the following year. By the time the network was completed in December 1964, it was the largest civildata processing system in the world. Other airlines established their own systems. Delta Air Lines launched the Delta Automated Travel Account System (DATAS) in 1968.United Airlines and Trans World Airlines followed in 1971 with the Apollo Reservation System and Programmed Airline Reservation System (PARS), respectively. Soon, travel agents began pushing for a system that could automate their side of the process by accessing the various ARSes directly to make reservations. Fearful this would place too much power in the hands of agents, American Airlines executive Robert Crandall proposed creating an industry-wide computer reservation system to be a central clearing house for U.S. travel; other airlines demurred, citing fear of antitrust prosecution. Travel agent access
In 1976, United began offering its Apollo system to travel agents; while it would not allow the agents to book tickets on United's...
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