Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer which now sells tickets to Indian customers and offers them an easy payment process and cash-back offers.
“It was just a lot simpler,” Mehrotra said of booking a flight through Amazon. “They are integrating most of my lifestyle needs under a single platform.”
Airlines are concerned that Amazon’s quiet launch of domestic plane ticket sales in India last month is only the start of a global trend and the beginning of a battle for control of valuable traveller data.
For years, airlines have found it difficult to compete with online travel agencies like Expedia Group Inc and corporate travel agents that control a large number of customers, Travelport Chief Executive Gordon Wilson said.
“They have nothing left if Google is in that position, or Amazon,” he said at a CAPA Centre for Aviation conference this month. “I think the airlines are being very watchful over this.”
Some carriers, like AirAsia and Easyjet are building digital travel businesses to help boost profits and keep passengers loyal beyond flying.
Companies like Amazon and Alphabet’s Google have the upper hand because their broader knowledge of purchasing habits might give them an edge over airlines in presenting attractive offers, travel industry executives said.