Making changes to a flight can be challenging for consumers. But making changes to the underlying ticket rules is nearly impossible for most airlines. At least it used to be. Thanks to a rapidly developed “Emergency Flexibility” solution developed by ATPCO airlines, GDS distribution platforms and other partners are now able to automate many ticket rules changes. The system enters service on 7 June 2020.
The multitude of commercial policies and regulatory requirements across jurisdictions is enormous, making it challenging to get the most up-to-date information out to the industry and travelers in a timely and efficient manner. ATPCO exists to serve the airline industry – a role we take very seriously, especially in times of crisis – we quickly got to work and designed an automated solution to waive fees on tickets in emergency situations, like this current pandemic.– Thomas Gregorson, Chief Strategy Officer at ATPCO
Historically only rule conditions that were in effect when the ticket was issued could be used on existing tickets. In the COVID-19 era, however, that approach to ticketing proved a massive burden to airlines. A carrier wishing to adjust policies faced significant challenges in manually adjusting the business rules attached to the ticket. Airlines and travel agencies needed an automated way to apply current or new voluntary changes and refunds and communicate these changes to travelers. The Emergency Flexibility framework delivers on that need.
More than one million commercial flights cancelled in recent months as travel restrictions and demand shifted rapidly around the globe.Whether extending ticket validity, offering flexible change fees or other adjustments, airlines needed the flexibility to adjust the rules on existing bookings. Emergency Flexibility delivers on that need. It extends the functionality provided within the ATPCO industry platform, and the pricing and retailing automation standards that support it, ensuring the rapid and efficient implementation of flexible new rules for existing tickets across all channels.
ATPCO also promises that the new program ensures that travelers can better understand new policies that have been put in place and the associated benefits.
We have been working diligently to provide our customers with flexibility in response to the challenge of COVID-19 and we recognize this has driven rapid change and additional complexity for our agency partners. Partnering with ATPCO and the GDSs is key to delivering an automated solution for our agencies, creating a consistent approach for airlines to implement new change policies for previously issued tickets.– Sara Reid, Managing Director Commercial Delivery & Development at Delta Air Lines
More than 60 airlines, including Air France/KLM, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Singapore Airlines, are involved with the Emergency Flexibility solution. All major GDSs platforms, including Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, and Travelsky are planning to go live with it within the next week.
In these exceptional circumstances, there has been an increasing need for a consistent approach to ticketing changes for all players and across different channels. The solution that ATPCO has been able to create in a matter of weeks, and that Amadeus is enabling, will provide consistency in automated servicing for travel agents and airlines which will benefit the entire ecosystem.– Hervé Prezet, Vice President of Industry & Expertise at Amadeus
This week’s effort follows the launch of Reassurance UPAs in April. This content is available at no cost to airlines and sales channels and visually describes and showcases specific measures airlines are taking to protect travelers. ATPCO currently delivers this rich content across 70% of the global flight schedule for over 100 airlines.
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