Amadeus is rolling out Master Pricer Agent Fare Families, an application that will enable travel agencies to set their own criteria for sorting air fares on their Web sites.

Search results can be grouped in up to six fare families, each with similar characteristcs. Criteria can include the publishing carrier, booking class, cabin, refundability, penalties, public/private/corporate fare, etc. Thomas Muller, senior manager of availability and shopping for Amadeus, said the application is not meant to allow agencies to replicate or reorganize airlines' branded fare families.

For example, "Behind Air Canada's Tango fares, there are lots of product values," Muller said, making it difficult to maintain consistency across several airlines.

But the agency tool can group fares according to what is most important to clients in terms of flexibility. Agents can tailor the selection of fare offers, depending on each customer request and profile, and decide and design how the fare families are constructed. They also can give more visibility to specific content from a preferred airline, helping them reach their sales goals more quickly and helping business travelers adhere to corporate policy on preferred carriers. Amadeus noted that the lowest fare is not always the best option.

A traveler may require the flexibility to change or cancel an itinerary, for example, and may or may not be willing to pay a penalty to do so. Search results can be grouped so that the customer can see an apples-to-apples comparison of fares. Non-refundable fares can be grouped together in one family; fares that are refundable with a penalty can be grouped into a different family, and fully flexible fares can be displayed in a third family.

Muller said Amadeus may expand the types of criteria that can be applied, but he stressed that items sold separately from the fare -- checked-bag fees or advance seat assignments that have been uncoupled from the fare, for example -- will not be among them. Fare Family merchandising functionality will be made available through the GDS channel at a later date. It will be delivered as part of the functionalities that will be rolled out under the Amadeus Airline Retailing Platform and will be bookable via the Amadeus Selling Platform.