Year on year we’re seeing the airline market change, it’s becoming increasingly more complex. So, with these changes, a big question arises – have Ticket Time Limits (TTLs) stood still?
The basics of TTLs is that airlines need to make sure they get paid for every seat booked, however, as complexity increases the challenges around them grow.
So, fasten your seatbelt, settle down, and fly with us through the world of TTLs.
The Changing Nature of TTLs
‘It’s simple, right?’
All airlines do TTLs. It’s a core function that every airline will have covered in its simple form. Still, there can be a huge amount of variation surrounding TTLs scope and complexity.
The journey associated with TTLs can be a long and complicated one and there are many different rules that can govern when a Ticket must be paid for. However, ultimately, airlines are looking for one TTL for each PNR. In the end, there’s only one date and time an airline can say that a Ticket must be issued by.
‘Is that your time or my time?’
The core function of managing TTLs is to insert the right TTL and to look at a PNR at the appropriate time to see if it’s been ticketed. If the answer is ‘no’ then we probably want to trigger a warning to the travel agent for action. After giving the agent a suitable amount of time, if it’s still not ticketed then more drastic action (e.g. cancellation) should be taken.
Some TTL solutions will provide just a ticketing date. We believe that in this fast-moving world, using both a date and time is more appropriate (your choice of local or UTC). The slight addition of ‘time’ may not seem important but it ensures absolute clarity for the agent as to when a booking must be ticketed. This is especially important with bookings close to departure where TTLs may be measured in hours instead of days.
‘So, what’s new?’
TTLs have a very important link to other areas of airline Revenue Integrity (RI). When one reservation is ticketed and another remains un-ticketed, a good TTL function will clear up the unpaid duplicate. However, what about when both Tickets have been paid for?
A Ticket with more flexibility will often entitle the owner to a refund. To avoid no-shows, under-collections and to help keep the load factor as high as possible, a comprehensive RI solution should be deployed. It must search for; duplicate bookings, identify duplicate ticket use, check for Ticket re-issues, and enforce Ticket quality rules. Accelya’s RI solution does all this and more.
Do your Tickets pass quality checks as well?
Just because a Ticket has passed a basic TTL check it doesn’t mean that it’s a ‘good’ Ticket. Once a Ticket is found, it should then be moved into a series of Ticket quality controls to assess if it’s valid.
Our Ticket quality checks look at fundamental but often overlooked aspects of the Ticket such as; ensuring it’s a valid carrier for the journey, looking for re-use of a Ticket number and VCR status. We go over and above these with the addition of booked versus ticketed checks that look for variances in class, route and date. If a Ticket needs to be re-issued, we’ll find it. So, don’t just think that any old Ticket will pass our TTL checks – it won’t!
Passenger vs Airline changes
Great, a Ticket has gone through and a TTL date and time has been calculated. But what happens when things change? Does your TTL solution deal with this?
When a booking is changed, we will recalculate the TTL warning and violation date and time. Sometimes, the changes are caused by the airline, and not the customer. Should the customer be penalized or should airlines take it on their shoulders? Accelya’s TTL handling allows airlines to build rules to handle both situations appropriately.
“The rules in our TTL configuration have all the flexibility in the world to recognize who has made the change to the booking and act accordingly. Remember, flexibility within a solution is key.”
– Dr. Andrew Wolstenholme, SVP Solution Architecture & Software Development, Accelya.
Demand is in demand
It’s the dream moment for any sports fan. The team they’ve supported for their whole life has reached the knockout stages of the cup. The draw takes place and first up, it’s an away trip to a beautiful foreign city.
For the fan, this is perfect and the trip of a lifetime. For an airline, the sudden change from low to high demand flights presents a fantastic opportunity, but, it can be a nightmare to manage.
We can integrate our TTL handling with your Revenue Management (RM) solution, taking a feed of high demand flights. We can then get all the bookings on those flights and modify the TTLs to use high period rules.
Reservations that were initially put under ‘least restrictive’ rules can be switched to ‘most restrictive’, or of course, vice-versa. Integration with RM enables demand-led TTLs to be implemented and are a great example of how a flexible solution can really add value to the airline’s operations.
TTLs – it’s more than just the seat
People are not just buying seats anymore; airlines are increasingly making money from selling ancillary services to customers. What used to be an inclusive fare, for many airlines, has now been unbundled and products such as exit row seats, seats for animals, unaccompanied minors and even food and drinks are now sold as options. So, what do these products have to do with TTLs? Ancillary services have their own tickets, known as an Electronic Multipurpose Documents (EMDs). They also have Purchase by Dates (PBDs) that need to be checked, just like TTLs.
We identify the bookings, people and seats that have EMDs and review them at the appropriate date and time to ensure that the service has been paid for.
So, have TTLs stood still?
At the start, we posed the question ‘have TTLs stood still?’ The answer is definitely ‘NO’. If we asked the same question about RI solutions, in some cases the answer would be ‘YES’ – but not Accelya’s RI solution IRIS. We have definitely moved with the times.
The very best RI solutions will be able to deal with ancillary services and work in conjunction with other Commercial solutions such as RM and Group Booking tools.
At Accelya, staying fluid, flexible and in-tune with the ever-changing Commercial landscape is key. “We love innovating. It’s great to work with airlines that want to extend their capabilities. Delivering demand-led TTLs and EMD Control are two examples of where we have achieved this – and we are working on more.” – Nigel Dowden, SVP Global Business Development, Commercial Solutions, Accelya.
Perhaps the key point to take away from this briefing is that TTLs are not the start and end of ticketing RI. TTLs are always changing and you need to make sure you’re evolving too.