There is a way to check a complete flight itinerary online without dealing with airlines or booking agencies. You can find out if your flight is confirmed or not, and get the e-ticket number if e-tickets were issued. Sabre and Amadeus are the two main systems used to book flights regardless of the airline. Each company has its own website with all or most of the information a domestic traveler will need. They’re like quasi travel agents that handle your flight booking and airline tickets.

1. Global Distribution System Reservation Code

When you book your flight, get your GDS (Global Distribution System) reservation code. This is usually different from the airline confirmation number, but a booking agency is likely to give it to you. It is made up of six letters and/or numbers. This GDS system is your key to being able to access information about your flight on a different booking system and the future of travel technology through web services.

2. Check your Code

Check the code to determine the system it belongs to. Reservation codes starting with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, X, Y, or Z are from the Amadeus GDS system. Codes starting with anything else are from the Sabre GDS system. These 2 service providers are the big names in online travel management in the travel industry. If you know these 2 reservation systems, you will likely be good to go for a booking engine.

When you use online travel agencies like Expedia, it can also be helpful to know your GDS code in order to do travel business through them.


Call up if you have an Amadeus code. Enter the GDS reservation code and the passenger's last name.

Go to if you have a Sabre code. Enter the GDS reservation code and the passenger's last name.


These online travel companies keep track of your PNR or Passenger Name Record that is associated with the IATA (International Air Transport Association) and that allows them to provide their travel services to customers in real-time using end-to-end API integration. This information can be used to make pricing, hotel rooms and hotel booking, and car rentals easier as well through integrating travel websites.

There are other smaller distribution channels and sometimes other travel portals are used for online bookings too. So if you can’t find your flight tickets in these airline reservation systems, you can check other travel booking companies. Other GDS systems include:

  • Worldspan GDS
  • Apollo GDS
  • Galileo GDS
  • Travelport GDS