This week, United Airlines is holding a summit entitled “Letting the GNE Out of the Bottle.” (GNE is entities acronym for GDS New Entrants). Corporate buyers, TMCs and solution providers have been invited to UA’s headquarters to discuss alternative distribution. This meeting demonstrates how serious the major carriers are about lowering distribution costs. ITA software and G2Switchworks are among the vendors presenting their distribution vision. By the nature of the attendees it is clear that UA recognizes that both the corporate buyer and their TMC must participate in an alternate GDS platform. For those corporations that have embraced self-booking, this move to alternate distribution will be easier as tools such as Outtask’s Cliqbook are hooked into the new pipes provided by G2, ITA and others. The key issue that remains is support of non GDS bookings. Here the recurrent theme of a “super PNR” has relevance. For TMCs who continue to support their corporations using GDS “green screen” technology, embracing an alernative distribution platform will be challenging. Given the dire economic realtities of the major U.S. carriers this meeting signals a major trend that will have momentum in 2005.