Amadeus earlier this week got the go-ahead from IATA to make the Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) available to travel agencies for the first time. The EMD will enable agencies to sell airlines’ ancillary services through the GDS.
While the move is significant, a full rollout of the EMD in the U.S. will take some time. Adoption of the technology requires preparation by the airlines – they must make their ancillary data available, for example – and progress on that front has been slow.
Finnair is the first carrier to implement the EMD solution, and it has been using it to process ancillary sales through its direct channels since June. As a result, Finnish agencies are the first to make use of the EMD. Amadeus is planning a “market by market” rollout.
More Preparation Required
The Electronic Miscellaneous Document cannot be implemented for agencies in the U.S. until ARC and the U.S. carriers are fully prepared.
Jeannine E. Rahe, director of marketing and business intelligence for ARC, said the company is not slowing its development efforts, despite little apparent movement on the airline side. “ARC is continuing to develop the EMD as we feel this is needed as an industry solution,” she told Travel Market Report.
Robert Buckman, director of airline distribution strategy for Amadeus North America, said the EMD is “much more than an electronic MCO.”
It can link itself to the flight, and track and associate various items, he said. For example, a customer might buy a seat with extra legroom for a two-connection itinerary. The EMD will track and manage the delivery of the service. If an extra-legroom seat is no longer available for one of the legs, the EMD acts as a record for the carrier to prorate or refund the charge.
The EMD-A can be used for flight-specific services, such as preferred seats, meals or Internet access. The EMD-S is used for stand-alone services such as lounge access.