Developing standards and solutions to handle ancillary revenue items now in vogue at most airlines has been and will continue to be a challenging task that requires coordination between various industry constituents. The solution favored by ARC--the electronic miscellaneous document
--has its good, bad and ugly sides.
"We will be ready to support the EMD by about this time next year," according to ARC vice president of marketing, sales and customer care Mike Premo, speaking in San Diego this week at the National Business Travel Association convention. "The good news is there is a date, the bad news is its not until next year
Premo also acknowledged that "it is not clear where everyone in the chain
is" in adopting EMD. "We can only positively confirm one major airline has made a decision to roll out EMDs to the agency community," he said, adding that Amadeus "is the only major GDS that is even close to making a commitment on EMD."
According to Premo, the EMD in a nutshell is "an e-ticket for optional services" that airlines offer. "It will have its own number, and you will need multiple EMDs per ticket if you have more than one ancillary service--a checked bag and seat assignment, for example," he continued. "When a flight coupon is considered used, all associated EMDs with that coupon will be considered used. That will be the default."
But here's where it could get ugly.
"If something happens--I didn’t get the preferred seat that I paid for--that will be a customer service issue dealt with by the carrier," Premo explained. That drew grumbles and other sounds of skepticism from attendees. Responding to the audible doubts, Premo said, "It's the same thing that happens today. Nothing different there, right?"
Said one attendee, "That’s the problem."