Northwest Airlines to ban conversion of e-tickets to paper

Once an electronic ticket is booked, agents will not be able to convert it to a paper one under a new Northwest Airlines` policy that goes into effect as of Jan. 1.

“We are eliminating the e-ticket print function in all of the computer reservations systems,” said a Northwest spokesman, in an “attempt to encourage e-ticket usage and reduce the number of improperly voided transactions.”


ASTA, in Dateline ASTA Weekly, a newsletter faxed to its members, noted that “while agents can still produce paper tickets, the decision to produce paper tickets must be made at the time of ticketing.”


ASTA also said that the Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, has agreed to develop a procedure “that would allow for the reversal of an electronic exchange transaction within the same calendar day of the exchange transaction being canceled.”


However, ASTA said, it could be months before the procedure will be in place.

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ASTA urged agents to “take extreme care when doing e-ticket exchange transactions, as these transactions cannot be voided,” unless Northwest issues a waiver and changes the PNR, the Northwest spokesman added.


According to Northwest, in November 2001, “a record 67% of the tickets used by its customers throughout the world were electronic, with nearly 75% electronic ticket usage in the domestic market, and 10% electronic ticket usage internationally.”


Northwest recently announced a interline e-ticket agreement with United. It has a similar agreement with Continental.


“We intended to have interline functionality with all of the major U.S. airlines by the end of 2002,” the Northwest spokesman said. “We want to do everything we can to encourage the use of e-ticketing and making the advantages that come with it available to more of our customers.”


ARC has a chart of the e-ticket policies of the major airlines at its Web site, located at www.arccorp.com/eticketing.htm.


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