Virtual Interlining for Multi-City Trips: Challenges and Solutions

August 29, 2023

Travelling to multiple cities on a single trip has become increasingly popular. It is a great way to make the most of travel, exploring different cultures, landmarks, and cuisines within one vacation. However, planning such a trip can be complex and time-consuming, especially when it comes to booking flights. This is where virtual interlining comes in as a valuable solution to streamline the process.

Virtual interlining (VI) is a relatively new concept that allows Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) to connect flights from different airlines to create a single itinerary - even when they do not operate under the same alliance. By doing so, you can create a more flexible itinerary that suits your travellers' needs and preferences.

Embarking on multi-city trips has unique challenges, which are hard for travellers to overcome with the traditional booking methods. The main struggles are:

  1. Complex itinerary planning: Assembling a multi-city itinerary manually can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Coordinating such details as flights, accommodations transportation across different counties/cities requires attention to detail and significant research.
  2. Increased costs: Booking complex flights on a single PNR can lead to inflated costs due to pricing discrepancies and limited options. Trip Ninja's multi-city technology has worked it out, using our FareStructure algorithms.
  3. Managing multiple bookings: keeping track of various bookings can be a logistical challenge. Changes or cancellations to one aspect of the trip may create a domino effect, necessitating adjustments to other components.

Virtual interlining offers several solutions that address the challenges of multi-city trips. By leveraging technology and partnerships, VI technology simplifies the process and enhances the overall travel experience.

  1. Streamlined itinerary planning: VI technology automatically creates optimized itineraries. There is no need to do multiple searches manually and figure out the connection time.
  2. Cost savings: VI is dedicated to finding the most cost-effective routes by comparing fares and finding the best options for multi-city trips.
  3. Flexibility: VI helps avoid layovers in airports or cities that travellers might not want to visit.

While VI presents a host of benefits, OTAs should remember that virtual interlining also comes with its own set of challenges. The most significant of these challenges is that the airlines involved in a VI itinerary are not bound by a formal agreement. This means that if one of the flights is delayed or cancelled, the other airline(s) will not be responsible (or even aware) of a potentially stranded traveller. This can be problematic when a traveller has chosen a tight connection time or is travelling during peak travel season.

However, OTAs can mitigate these risks by using the risk management features in Trip Ninja's Virtual Interlining API. Our Risk Profile score provides an assessment of the potential risk associated with each virtually interlined flight, considering factors such as duration of self-transfer (the time that a traveller has available to transition between flights) and on-time performance (the cancellation probability of each flight). The importance of both parameters in the Risk Profile can be adjusted.

It is advisable for OTAs to take additional steps such as checking whether travellers will require visas for the self-transfer process or offering travel insurance that covers flight disruptions. Further, it is crucial that OTAs emphasize to travellers that it is their own responsibility to complete their self-transfers.

In summary, virtual interlining provides a flexible and affordable solution for creating multi-city trip itineraries. With the right research and planning, OTAs can leverage this technology to assist travellers in creating exceptional travel experiences. To explore the benefits of Trip Ninja's Virtual Interlining product and discover how it will work for you, we invite you to check out our website or set up a meeting with our sales team at

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