ARC Publishes Recommendations for Managing Airline Schedule Changes

2020 News Releases

ARC Publishes Recommendations for Managing Airline Schedule Changes

Document Encourages Standards for Airlines, Travel Agencies and GDSs in Times of Change

ARLINGTON, Va. – June 30, 2020 Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released Recommendations for Managing Airline Schedule Changes, which intends to increase consistency, clarity and efficiency for the global travel community as it manages both planned and unplanned airline schedule changes.

While managing schedule changes has always been challenging for the air travel industry, the frequent flight cancellations and schedule changes during the COVID-19 pandemic have brought these challenges to the forefront. This document includes recommendations to address these issues, including standardized terminology, communication, debit memo processing, customer service and management of traveler expectations. It was created by the Irregular Operations and Schedule Changes subgroup of the ARC-facilitated Debit Memo Working Group (DMWG) after extensive collaboration and industry vetting.

“Particularly now, as we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19, the travel community is facing a high volume of schedule changes and increased traveler uncertainty,” said Paige Blunt, ARC’s industry relationship manager, who facilitates the DMWG and its subgroups. “We expect these recommendations will enhance and simplify communication between airlines, travel agencies and GDSs in these complex scenarios.”

“Schedule changes are challenging enough on their own,” Blunt added, “But when the travel industry uses a wide range of terms, definitions and procedures, it adds an additional layer of complexity to navigate. While ARC does not enforce these recommendations, the DMWG encourages travel agencies, airlines and GDSs to review these recommendations and adopt them as part of their standard processes surrounding schedule changes.”

“These best practices were created with collaborative input from all partners – airlines, travel agencies, GDS providers and ARC,” said Shannon Keever, debit memo analyst and reconciler for Altour. “As an agency, we were able to gain a better understanding of airline operations and procedures, and airlines were able to learn more about the downline impact these changes have on agencies. We worked together to make recommendations that improve the process, reduce confusion and create consistency, which ultimately will lead to reducing the impact to our shared customers and a better experience for all parties.”

This is the second set of industry best practices created by the DMWG. The first, “Best Practices for Effective Debit Memo Resolution and Prevention,” was published in 2018 and contains recommendations for debit memo communication, auditing, disputes and resolution. More information on the DMWG and its work can be found on ARC’s website.


ARC accelerates the growth of global air travel by delivering forward-looking travel data, flexible distribution services and other innovative industry solutions. We are a leading travel intelligence company that possesses the world’s largest, most comprehensive global airline ticket dataset, including more than 15 billion passenger flights representing 490 airlines and 230 countries and territories. Our solutions and expertise strengthen economies and enrich lives by connecting stakeholders across the travel ecosystem. For more information, visit

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Randy Spoon