Starting June 1, International Air Transport Association (IATA) will require all travel advisors and travel agencies to enter passenger contact information when booking air tickets as part of a new rule that IATA issued on its website this week.
As part of IATA Resolution 830d, advisors booking air tickets through IATA's Passenger Agency Program “must actively ask each passenger whether they wish to have their contact details (mobile number and/or email) provided to airlines participating in the itinerary.” According to IATA, the rule is being implemented in order to help contact the passenger “in an operational disruption” and so that airlines are “able to advise passengers of irregular flight operations and disruptions.”
All contact info has to be obtained from passengers with data protection regulations, meaning advisors will have to specifically ask for permission for the info being handing it over to the airline. If the passenger declines, an advisor will have to enter that the passenger refused.
“In the event the passenger exercises his or her right not to provide contact details it is incumbent on the Agent to indicate that the passenger has declined to provide such details, and to enter the refusal in the PNR to limit any statutory liability,” the new rule reads. “In such a case, the Agent must actively advise the passenger that they may not receive information from the airline relating to flight cancellation or schedule changes (including delay in departure).”
The rule means that advisors will have to go through an extra step when booking all of their passengers.
According to an IATA spokesperson speaking with TMR, 830d has been on IATA's books since 2014 after passing at PACconf/36 in 2013, but has now changed from a recommendation to a mandate.
"What is different is that whereas in the past this was a recommended practice, the change that was submitted to PAConf last year was to mandate that the agent must at least ask the customer if they would consent to provide their contact information or not and register their 'non-consent,' if the passenger chooses to do so, which gives the passenger a choice," the spokesperson said.
In the resolution, IATA says that none of the information obtained will be used for marketing or sales purposes, and will only be use for operational notifications like flight cancellations and schedule changes. Advisors can read the full rule (entry number four in Resolution 830d) here.
According to an IATA spokesperson speaking with TMR, "IATA is not the party that is checking for compliance...Agents are asked to respect such requirements by Resolution830d and they would be responsible for managing non-compliance follow up actions with the airlines that require this data."
Some airlines have already begun issuing guidance about the new rule to their partners. British Airways and Iberia sent out a notice to their partners on Thursday. According to that notice, any "agent found not to be following the correct reservations procedures will be subject to appropriate action by the Airline." Lufthansa also acknowledged the new rule and sent out suggestions for SSR formats to enter passenger information into PNRs.