Best Practices

List of contents

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. SATA Group Reservation Policy and ADM Policy
  3. 3. Booking / Ticketing Best Practices
    1. 3.1. Cancelling reservations
    2. 3.2. Churning
    3. 3.3. Duplicate Bookings/Segments
    4. 3.4. Fictitious or Speculative Bookings
    5. 3.5. Group Bookings
    6. 3.6. Inactive Segments
    7. 3.7. Invalid Ticketing
    8. 3.8. Name Changes
    9. 3.9. Passive Segments
    10. 3.10. Special Service Requests
    11. 3.11. Test or Training PNRs
    12. 3.12. Ticketing Policy
    13. 3.13. Ticketing Time Limit
    14. 3.14. Waitlist Segment
    15. 3.15. Others
  4. 4. Policy Violations
  5. 5. How to Avoid getting ADMs?
  6. 6. ADM Costs


1. Introduction

In the aviation and tourism industry, agencies and GDS/CRS are partners of the airlines. In addition to the established rules and standards, there is a joint responsibility to provide the best service possible and most efficiently and authentically for the passenger.
Travel agents must ensure that, while making reservations through their GDS/CRS, they do not undermine airlines' available resources by ensuring adequate control of communication costs and efficient use of GDS connectivity. Misuse of the system results in a high cost to the SATA Group in terms of unused seats and denial of inventory to other agents.
SATA Group, through SATA Air Açores and SATA Azores Airlines, reiterates its commitment to provide service to our travel agent partners and passengers in cooperation. Thus, to find a compromise between the interests of both parties, and consequently to prevent the issuance of ADMs, a set of quick reference guidelines is presented in this document.


2. SATA Group Reservation Policy and ADM Policy

Every month, the SATA Group 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, the SATA Group 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. Canceling reservations

Segments must be canceled, and inventory released immediately when a ticket has not been purchased following 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 canceled by the airline system due to expiry of time-limit must also be canceled in the GDS/CRS until 24 hours before flight departure.

3.2. Churning

Churning refers to repeated canceling and rebooking of the same itinerary in the same or different classes of service across one or more PNRs or GDS/CRSs. Churning is often done 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. This practice is unacceptable as it blocks seats from other Service Providers dis-servicing all our customers. Your compliance with all booking and ticketing requirements is requested. Any booking made for the same passenger with the same itinerary viewed 4 times or more, or equal to or exceed 8 transactions (Book / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel / Rebook / Cancel = ADM) will result in the issuance of an ADM with its own recovery cost per passenger per segment and lead to a penal action.

3.3. 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 the 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.

3.4. 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. The input of fictitious ticket numbers to hold a booking leads to a reduction in the 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 the 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.

3.5. 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 canceled before 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.

3.6. 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 canceled from the GDS/CRS PNR at least 24 hours before departure. Repeated and continued violations actions may incur additional criminal action by the airlines.

3.7. 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 are often used to circumvent ticketing time limits or to hold inventory. This practice is unacceptable. Please be aware that the SATA Group 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.

3.8. Name Changes

All SATA Group 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 to correct a misspelling 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 up to three characters in the family name (surname) and unlimited changes to the first name.
Any attempt to override this policy will be detected by our Revenue Integrity tool and bookings will be canceled. Contact the SATA Group Helpdesk offices for assistance with misspellings to avoid cancellation of space.

3.9. Passive Segments

An acceptable passive segment is entered into a GDS/CRS for ticketing. It must match an existing booking in the 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 before 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. 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. 1. SATA will automatically validate each passive segment notification message to determine that a matching segment exists in the internal reservations system.
  2. 2. If an identical segment does not exist within the 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. 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:
    1. a. Matching itinerary not found
    2. b. Matching name not found
    3. c. Matching number of passengers not found
    4. d. Matching class of service not found
  4. 4. Industry standards require that passive segments be used "for ticketing" only after a booking has been made in an airline’s inventory system. The SATA Group does not allow passive segments to be used for other reasons, including the following:
    1. a. To circumvent fare rules
    2. b. To fulfill administrative functions

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 another GDS results in high costs to the airline for the same set of passengers, and therefore unacceptable.
All violations, therefore, attract suitable action from the airline, not limited to raising ADMs or other financial recovery actions.

3.10. 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.

3.11. 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.

3.12. Ticketing Policy

The 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.

3.13. 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.

3.14. 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. The SATA Group only allows waitlist segments before 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 canceled from the GDS/CRS PNR at least 24 hours prior departure, namely whenever a passenger is not willing to try waitlist at Airport and flight is closed for sales.

3.15. 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

The SATA Group 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 violations will be entire with the SATA Group.
SATA reserves the right to cancel any booking, whether ticketed, or unticketed 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 the SATA Group 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 canceled by SATA.
  • All cancellations received from SATA must be auctioned timely.
  • Cancel all duplicate PNRs or multiple segments made on the SATA Group flights.
  • Cancel any unconfirmed waitlist segments, at least 24 hours prior departure, namely whenever a passenger is not willing to try waitlist on Airport and flight is closed for sales.
  • Make bookings only for the required segments. Any cancellation of booked segments must be done in the GDS/CRS at the earliest or at least 36 hours before departures.
  • PNRs created for testing purposes must be canceled well in advance to avoid ADMs for fictitious names.
  • All updates including cancellations must be effected through the CRS. There is no need to call the SATA Group, as action by agency personnel in the GDS / CRS PNR is a must.
  • Do not book or waitlist on multiple flights or classes or in 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 before the departure of the first segment. If not, the SATA Group will identify them as Duplicate booking and raise ADM accordingly as mentioned in the GDS Booking Policy and ADM Policy.

6. ADM Costs

SATA identifies all transactions listed above and reserves the right to issue Agency Debit Memo (ADM) to the practices identified below with their respective values per passenger.

ChurningBy segmentEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57
Duplicate bookingBy bookingEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57
Duplication of segmentsBy segmentEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57
Bogus or speculative bookingsBy bookingEUR 7CAD 10USD 10BMD 10CHF 7GBP 7DKK 52NOK 80SEK 80
Inactive segmentsBy segmentEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57
Waiting-listed segmentsBy segmentEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57
No-Show without ticketBy segmentEUR 30CAD 40USD 40BMD 40CHF 30GBP 27DKK 244NOK 345SEK 340
Note: Administrative fee in BIDTsEUR 5CAD 8USD 8BMD 8CHF 5GBP 5DKK 37NOK 57SEK 57