BY FRAN DURBIN
WASHINGTON -- Electronic ticketing represents 9% of total agency
sales through the Airlines Reporting Corp. and is growing, ARC
president David Collins said.
Noting that electronic ticketing on international air sales has
not taken off yet, Collins said electronic transactions represent
about 12% of agents' domestic sales.
Electronic sales are not paperless because they still require
some documentation for the agent and ARC. For example, the agent's
and auditor's coupons are necessary and the agent must print out
the flight coupons when refunding or exchanging an electronic sale.
ARC held out the prospect that some of the paper may go away in the
Collins said that at some point down the road, the auditor's
coupon will be eliminated on electronic transactions for agents who
report their sales electronically to ARC, he said. "The next step
would be to let agents keep their records on some type of
electronic storage," which would eliminate the agent's coupon, he
Allan Muten, ARC director of corporate communications, said that
someday, flight coupons no longer would have to be printed when
electronic sales are refunded or exchanged. Muten said the CRS
vendors are working on a special document on which the flight
segments and dollar values would be listed. The document would have
room for up to 24 flight segments per refund/exchange.
A piece of paper still would be required but the document would
reduce the agent's security risk because it could not be used by
anyone to board an aircraft, unlike flight coupons with a dollar
Meanwhile, for regular paper sales, Collins reminded agents that
ARC will stop shipping transitional automated ticket (TAT) stock,
effective Jan. 1, because it has been overtaken by automated ticket
and boarding pass (ATB) stock.
Collins said agents' demand for transitional automated tickets
has dropped off to the point where it represents "2% or less of
what we ship." He also noted that the airlines postponed an
industry-wide deadline, scheduled for last April, to make the
investment to convert from first-generation ATB stock to the
magnetic-striped ATB-2 stock, because the carriers are waiting to
see how prevalent electronic ticketing will become.