Best Practices

Reservations Policy

1. Introduction 
2. Group SATA Booking Policy & ADM Policy
3. Booking/ Ticketing Best Practices 
3.1. Cancelling reservations
3.2. Churning
3.3. Dual CRS/ GDS
3.4. Duplicate Bookings/Segments
3.5. Fictitious or Speculative Bookings
3.6. Group Bookings
3.7. Inactive Segments
3.8. Invalid Ticketing
3.9. Name Changes
3.10. Passive Segments
3.11. Special Service Requests
3.12. Test or Training PNRs
3.13. Ticketing Policy
3.14. Ticketing Time Limit
3.15. Waitlist Segment
3.16. Others
4. Policy Violations 
5. How to avoid getting ADMs?
6. ADMs costs


1. Introduction
Agencies and GDS/CRS’s are partners of the airlines in our industry. Besides the laid down rules and norms, there is a responsibility towards each other for delivering the best possible service in the most efficient and effective manner to the passenger.
Agents must ensure whilst making bookings through GDS / CRS, optimum utilization of Group SATA, to contain communication costs, and use the GDS connectivity efficiently. Misuse of system results in a high cost to Group SATA in terms of wasted seats and denial of inventory to other agents. We reiterate our commitment to provide service to our travel agent partners and passengers with mutual cooperation. Accordingly, some broad guidelines to avoid ADM’s are outlined for easy reference.  


2. Group SATA Booking Policy & ADM Policy
Every month, Group SATA gets GDS BIDT (Billing Information Data Tapes) which contains all transactions done by every Travel Agent using that specific GDS / CRS. After analyzing the BIDT tapes, we have found that SATA inventory is being misused in terms of churning, duplicate booking, inactive segments, etc. Additionally, Group SATA is paying the GDS / CRS segment fee for all transactions made by the agents, even though the passenger has not traveled, and is also paying for the unproductive or unwanted segment made by the Agents.


3. Booking/ Ticketing Best Practices

3.1. Cancelling reservations
Segments must be cancelled and inventory released immediately when a ticket has not been purchased in accordance with the fare rule, or when notified by a customer that travel is no longer needed, whichever comes first. Canceled space for one passenger shall not be used for another customer even if that customer desires an identical itinerary by adopting any internal substitution. A fresh request is obligated for the new customer, based on the then current availability and fares. Booking cancelled by the airline system due expiry of time-limit must also be cancelled in the GDS/CRS.


3.2. Churning
Churning refers to repeated cancelling and rebooking of same itinerary in the same or different classes of service across one or more PNRs or GDS/CRSs. Churning is often done to circumvent ticketing time limits. This practice in totally unacceptable as it blocks seats from other Service Providers dis-servicing all of our customers. Your compliance with all booking and ticketing requirements is requested. Any passenger booking seen more than 4 times will be liable for cancellation of all existing bookings, with appropriate cost recovery and penal action (Book / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel = ADM). Churning is not permitted for any reason including, without limitation, to circumvent or extend ticketing time limits, to hold inventory, or to find a fare, or carry forward special remarks from one itinerary to another. 


3.3. Dual CRS/ GDS
A Travel Service Provider that uses more than one CRS/GDS in its business must book and ticket a specific passenger itinerary within the same CRS/GDS. Creation of ticketed passives in another PNR and in another GDS results in high costs to the airline for the same set of passengers, and therefore unacceptable.


3.4. Duplicate Bookings/Segments
Booking passengers on multiple flights or in multiple classes increases GDS booking fees for the airline and leads to spoilt inventory. All duplicate bookings generated by a single Travel Service Provider are prohibited, including:
- Multiple itineraries for any number of passengers with the same passenger names, whether identical itineraries or not.
- Reserving one or more seats on the same flight or different flights for the same time frame, regardless of the class of service or format used to make the reservations.
- Additionally, creating a reservation where it is logically impossible to be used on each segment created across one or more PNRs or CRS/GDSs is not permitted e.g. violating traffic restrictions, minimum connecting time, or impractical itineraries. 
In case of duplicate bookings, SATA will cancel the oldest reservation and maintain the recent one, considering that the last one made is the passenger’s desire.


3.5. Fictitious or Speculative Bookings
Fictitious/speculative bookings and ticket numbers holding onto airline inventory until a passenger or ticketing opportunity arises increases GDS booking fees for the airline, and reduces the availability of our product. Your cooperation is requested to use the GDS/CRS only when it relates directly to a passenger’s request or intention to purchase a ticket.
Creating segments /passive or active/ or a combination of both causes financial losses to the airline. Input of fictitious ticket numbers to hold a booking leads to a reduction of availability of our product in the market.  
Examples of such bookings include reservations that list the following in the PNR:
- Schedule a/b/c
- Cow/cat and other common names
- Smith/a/b/c
- Test/Mr. 
Additionally, creating such PNRs to hold or block reservations due to anticipated demand, customer indecision, or for any reason including, without limitation, to circumvent any airline policy, reservation procedure or fare rules is not permitted.
Eliminating fictitious or speculative bookings will free up seats in your customers preferred class of service and better availability of seats for newer customers, while reducing unnecessary CRS/GDS costs to the airline. In case of DUPE, SATA will cancel the oldest reservation, and maintain the recent one, considering that the last one made is the passenger’s desire.

3.6. Group Bookings
All group bookings and large parties must be requested to the operator, and never sold individually. When reservations for a party or group are not confirmed, never attempt to secure the required service by requesting this in smaller numbers in individual transactions.
An acceptable group booking may include segments entered passively into a CRS/GDS.
These passive segments must match segments already existing in SATA Reservation System. Passive segments may only be entered at the time, and for the purpose, of ticket issuance.
Group bookings entered into a CRS/GDS that are not directly related to a customers’ request and are subsequently cancelled prior to ticketing are considered speculative.
Groups booked in a manner designed to circumvent these procedures are subject to penalties and/or cancellation by the airline. SATA prohibits creating speculative group bookings.  


3.7. Inactive Segments
Inactive segments are segments in a PNR affected by a schedule change or flight cancellation or response to a non-direct sell. Inactive segments are sent to the Service Provider queue in the GDS/CRS and can be identified with a status code of HX/NO/UC/UN/US.
All inactive segments must be cancelled from the GDS/CRS PNR at least 24 hours prior departure. Repeated and continued violations actions may incur additional criminal action by the airlines. 



3.8. Invalid Ticketing
Travel Service Providers must not retain bookings with invalid ticket numbers. Invalid ticket numbers include restricted, used, refunded, voided, or non-existent ticket numbers. Invalid ticket numbers is often used to circumvent ticketing time limits or to hold inventory. This practice is totally unacceptable. Please be aware that Group SATA has an automated ticket association process that will detect any of the above invalid ticket situations and cancel respective bookings, with appropriate cost recovery through ADM.


3.9. Name Changes
All Group SATA reservations require a valid first and last name as provided by the passenger. Travel Service Provider must provide customer’s first and last names which are identical to those in the customer’s passport / ID card.
Name changes are not permitted on reservations unless entered for the purpose of correcting a miss-spelling of the passenger's name.
According to our name change policy, if the flight or class is closed or waitlist, Travel Agent is allowed to one change of up to three characters in the family name (surname) and unlimited changes to first name.
Any attempt to override this policy will be detected by our Revenue Integrity tool and bookings will be cancelled. Contact the Group SATA Helpdesk offices for assistance with miss-spellings to avoid cancellation of space. 



3.10. Passive Segments
An acceptable passive segment is entered into a GDS/CRS for the purpose of ticketing. It must match an existing booking in SATA Reservations system. In the event of a mismatch, a reject message is sent to the booking Service Provider and the segment requires action at least 24 hours prior to flight departure.
Travel Service Providers must use claim PNR functionality when it is available and use it for ticketing instead of creating passive segments. The creation of passive segments when it is possible to claim an SP/S4 created PNR instead, is not permitted. In order to better control costs and eliminate abuse associated with the use of passive segments SP/S4 participates in passive segment notification in GDS/CRSs which offer this enhancement.
1. SATA will automatically validate each passive segment notification message to determine that a matching segment exists in the internal reservations system
2. If an identical segment does not exist within SATA internal system a message will be sent back to the CRS/GDS PNR, changing the status code of the passive segment to "NO" (No Action Taken)
3. An SSR will also accompany the rejected segment stating that the segment containing the passive is not valid. Passive segment(s) may be rejected by SP/S4 for one or more of the following reasons:  
   a. Matching itinerary not found
   b. Matching name not found
   c. Matching number of passengers not found
   d. Matching class of service not found
4. Industry standards require that passive segments be used "for the purpose of ticketing" only after a booking has been made in an airline’s inventory system. Group SATA does not allow passive segments to be used for other reasons, including the following:  
   a. To circumvent fare rules
   b. To fulfill administrative functions
All violations, therefore, attract suitable action from the airline, not limited to raising ADMs or other financial recovery action.


3.11. Special Service Requests
When changing itineraries in a passenger name record (PNR), it is necessary to re-request any special service requests from the original booking. This includes unaccompanied minors and special meal requests. When an SSR message is needed for only part of the itinerary, the special service request must be flight specific and not requested for all flights in the itinerary.
Any wastages or financial costs and burden incurred by SATA shall be duly passed upon to the ticketing agent or travel service provider.


3.12. Test or Training PNRs
The training mode or non-billable segment status codes provided by the CRS/GDS must be used when testing situations, or training personnel. Creating PNRs for training purposes using active sell segments status codes is prohibited.
 

3.13. Ticketing Policy
Travel service provider must always use the latest and updated fares rather than pre-stored fares, and collect and report accurately all taxes, fees and surcharges imposed by all local and foreign governments.
Travel service provider must ensure collection of penalties for no-show, cancellation, reissue, etc. as applicable.  


3.14. Ticketing Time Limit
Ticketing time limit deadline must always be observed. In case of differences between the last ticketing date shown in fare rule and the actual ticketing time limit deadline inserted by SATA, the most restrictive date prevails.


3.15. Waitlist Segment
Travel Service Providers must not repeatedly create waitlist segments, which in any case do not increase the chance of waitlist confirmation. Agencies must also avoid forcing waitlist on closed flights. Group SATA only allows waitlist segments prior to confirmed segments. Also, no more than 3 waitlist segments, in the same or different classes of service, are permitted. Any passenger booking seen HL 4 or more times will be liable for cancellation, with appropriate cost recovery through ADM. All waitlist segments should be cancelled from the GDS/CRS PNR at least 24 hours prior departure, namely whenever passenger is not willing to try waitlist at Airport and flight is closed for sales.


3.16. Others
Travel Service Provider must observe the following:
- SATA time limits;
- We recommend ticketing agents to provide passenger mobile contact number on the relevant GDS phone field or OSI element to facilitate disruption handling. Please note that this does not remove agent responsibility to act upon any reservation change and notify their customers of respective changes;
- Applicable government regulations and requirements
- Provide customer security information SSR DOCS/DOCA/DOCO) on PNR in the prescribed format as required; - Travel Service Provider must not separate Journey Control, Booking O & D, Married Segments for origin-destination single segment sale for any purpose, or manipulate airline system logic;
- Do not reinstate/update dead PNRs (status HX, NO, UN, UC,);
- Do not create bookings which violate the minimum connecting time requirement as defined by individual airlines;
- Do not create bookings on non-existent flights and segments, invalid segments, or violate traffic restrictions, as defined or published by individual airlines. 


4. Policy Violations
Group SATA reserves the right to hold the Travel Service Provider responsible for any violations, and charge for any loss or damage caused. Authority for all interpretations of any and all violations will be entirely with Group SATA.
SATA reserves the right to cancel any booking, whether ticketed, or un-ticketed by Travel Service Providers in cases of non-compliance, or those who have been identified as noncompliant to any part of this policy.
SATA, further, reserves the right to block any Travel Service Provider’s access to view, book or ticket Group SATA inventory at any time, and more specifically in case of violation of its policies.  


5. How to avoid getting ADMs?
• Action your agency system office Queues promptly for all action codes.
• Cancel segments with UN/NO/UC and HX reply codes from your queues promptly, since these have already been cancelled by SATA.
• All cancellations received from SATA must be auctioned timely.
• Cancel all duplicate PNR’s, or multiple segments made on Group SATA flights.
• Cancel any unconfirmed waitlist segments, at least 24 hours prior departure, namely whenever passenger is not willing to try waitlist on Airport and flight is closed for sales.
• Make bookings only for required segments. Any cancellation of booked segments must be done in the GDS/CRS at the earliest or at least 36 hours’ prior departures.
• PNR’s created for testing purposes must be cancelled well in advance to avoid ADM’s for fictitious names.
• All updates including cancellations must be affected through the CRS. There is no need to call Group SATA, as action by agency personnel in the GDS / CRS PNR is a must.
• Do not book or waitlist on multiple flights or classes or on parallel sectors. If the situation demands, for multiple bookings make sure that you cancel the segments in your GDS / CRS system at the earliest or at least 36 hours prior to the departure of the first segment. If not, Group SATA will identify them as Duplicate booking and raise ADM accordingly as mentioned in the GDS Booking Policy and ADM Policy. 


6. ADMs costs

Practice Cost *
Inactive Segments  EUR 5 per segment
Churning  EUR 5 per segment
Waitlist Segments EUR 5 per segment

* Per passenger.




Effectiveness: 2017.02.02