MasterCard Airfare Price Assurance logo

This week, in Phoenix, was the annual PhoCusWright Conference where folks from all corners of the travel industry gather to share ideas, forge partnerships, and announce some news.  Well, we had some news of our own to announce.  Here it is, as reported by Tnooz (the travel industry’s top trade news outlet):

Yapta and MasterCard plan to begin a beta in December in which MasterCard consumer and small business cardholders purchasing flights with their cards would be able to receive Yapta’s price monitoring and price assurance services.

Yapta pledges that its services get air travelers refunds on the difference when the airfare drops below the price the flight was booked for.

The beta is a prelude to a full-fledged launch of the service with MasterCard in early 2011, Yapta says.

The MasterCard-Yapta partnership punctuates a shift for Yapta, which has been focusing in recent months on supplementing its consumer offering with business to business services.

“This is a significant partnership that will deliver real savings and value to a broader audience of travelers,” says Yapta co-founder and CEO Tom Romary. “It’s also consistent with our strategy to power travel services for travel management companies, online travel search companies and financial services companies.”

The beta will be available to a subset of MasterCard cardholders in December.

Yapta and MasterCard plan to implement a series of collaborative services early next year.”

Here’s some more news you can use:

  • Airport security body scanners used by the TSA continue to gain negative publicity.  John Tyner, a California software engineer, became an instant web celebrity this week when he declined both a body scan and the alternative – a groin check – and then used his iPhone’s video camera to capture the event.  Tyner told TSA agents: “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.”  He evaded the junk-touching, but wasn’t allowed to fly.
  • John Tyner apparently isn’t alone in his detest of airport security body scanners.  Others are organizing a “National Opt-Out Day” slated for November 24th — the day before Thanksgiving and probably busiest day of air travel this year. It’s a protest against the full-body scanners at airports.  For all you planning to participate, you should know your rights.
  • AirTran today launched a “Giving Thanks to Our Customers” airfare sale good for tickets purchased today through Monday.  Fares are priced based on “peak,” “off-peak” and “super off-peak” travel dates. The lowest fares are for travel on Nov. 19, 21, 22, 26 and Nov. 30, with some discounts offered for flights on Thanksgiving Day. Also, there are no advance purchase requirements for this sale.