July 8, 2010
US Airways issued a notice this week warning agents that effective November 1, 2010, "ticketed PNRs that do not contain proper Secure Flight data within 72 hours of departure may be cancelled." This follows a message from Continental that agents may be debited for failing to provide Secure Flight data.
Please note that the deadlines for including Secure Flight data in all Passenger Name Records (PNRs) have long passed. The deadline for domestic reservations was Aug 15, 2009, and the deadline for international reservations was Oct 31, 2009. If your PNRs do not contain Secure Flight data today, you are not compliant.
The Nov 1, 2010 deadline is the date, regardless of when the booking occurred, that TSA has threatened to return all non-compliant records to the airlines for follow-up. Without Secure Flight data residing in the PNR, passengers traveling Nov 1 or later may at a minimum, be denied access to an online or kiosk boarding pass or at a maximum, find that their reservation has been cancelled by the airline. Effective Nov 1, the airlines are not only at risk of facing government enforcement action if they transmit non-compliant PNRs, they are also at risk of facing overburdened airport check-in counters. To prevent this from occurring, some airlines are now announcing agency enforcement policies to ensure PNRs from the agency channel are Secure Flight compliant. US Airways, for example, has indicated that the only way it can be certain to avoid enforcement action is to "purge any non-compliance records from their system." While these enforcement threats may differ by airline, the bottom line is that providing Secure Flight data is required by law.
As it stands today, the airlines collect Secure Flight data at the time-of-booking. The agency channel has the flexibility to collect Secure Flight data at any point during the reservation process as long as the data elements are added to the PNR prior to 72 hours of travel. This flexibility comes at a risk, as the burden of following-up with the customer and updating the PNR is on the travel agent. In the coming weeks, ASTA will be meeting with ARC, TSA and the GDSs to help the industry develop solutions to manage the collection of Secure Flight data in a way that minimizes enforcement action by TSA and/or the airlines as the Nov 1 deadline approaches.
Should any processes or deadlines change, we will let you know.
As a reminder, under the Secure Flight program, you must include the following elements in the Supplemental Remarks (SR) field of all PNRs at least 72 hours prior to travel or if the reservation is made within 72 hours of travel, then Secure Flight elements must be included at the time of booking:
Specific GDS formats and instructions can be obtained from your GDS. For additional information on Secure Flight, review ASTA's recently updated Travel agents' Guide to Secure Flight.
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