With the high volume of exchanges and refunds resulting from COVID-19, ARC is helping its customers operate with greater speed and efficiency, including the management of residual-value Electronic Miscellaneous Documents (EMDs).

In July, ARC enhanced its Interactive Agent Reporting (IAR) system to systematically link a residual-value EMD resulting from a GDS-issued exchange to its associated exchange transaction. This new feature will work similarly to the existing auto-linking functionality that links a residual-value MCO to its associated exchange transaction.

With this enhancement, the remaining value will be automatically linked to the exchange transaction for better tracking and transparency.

Residual-value EMDs are created when a non-refundable value from an older document is greater than the value of a new exchange document. When the airline allows this non-refundable residual difference to be transferred to either an MCO or an EMD, IAR will now systematically link that GDS-issued residual value document to its associated exchange transaction in the sales report.

This scenario is comparable to when a customer exchanges a retail product for a new one with a lower price than was already paid, then receiving the remainder of the balance on a gift card to be used at a later time. With this enhancement, the remaining value will be automatically linked to the exchange transaction for better tracking and transparency.

These enhancements have been made in response to customers’ requests to reduce the manual effort required in IAR and to increase the accuracy of exchanges. This update is part of ARC’s ongoing commitment to enhance its settlement solutions through the transformation of its technology infrastructure.

The automated linking of a GDS-issued residual value EMD to its associated exchange transaction will occur in your IAR sales report when:

  • The new 13-digit exchange ticket number is in the “Issued in Connection with Document Number” (ICDN) field of the EMD; and
  • One of the following three-character “Reason For Issuance Sub Codes” (RFIS) is used when issuing the EMD:
    • 99I - Residual Value
    • 996 - Refundable Balance
    • 98E - Non-refundable Amount

Automated Linking of Residual Value EMDs is an IAR-only feature that works only when a GDS-issued residual value EMD is sent to ARC. Please note that the ICDN and RFIS linking criteria values are not displayed in IAR on the EMD transaction, so it is important that these fields are entered in the GDS at the time the EMD is issued. While these and other EMD-specific data elements are not yet displayed in IAR, ARC does support full EMD settlement.

If both of the above linking criteria are not present on the EMD when received from the GDS, the agency will need to manually link the EMD to the new exchange. If not linked to the new exchange transaction, the customer could be charged the amount of the EMD instead of having that value available as a credit for future travel. Agencies should be sure to reconcile their sales reports daily to ensure any residual value documents are linked to their appropriate exchange transactions.

Agency issuance of a residual-value EMD is dependent upon the airline’s ticketing policy, since not all airlines support agency issuance of EMDs or permit the residual value to be transferred to a new document. The ability to issue an EMD is also dependent upon the GDS’s ability to support issuance of a residual-value EMD as part of the e-ticket exchange process. Agencies should check with their GDS provider for more information.

Also included with this enhancement is the addition of new EMD qualifiers in the IAR drop-down list selection options. Under Document Type, you will see the new option of EM-EMD. Under Transaction Type, there are three new options: EM-ALL EMDs, EA-EMDA and ES-EMDS. You may use these list qualifiers to create custom lists of EMD transactions.

Please refer to the Industry Agents’ Handbook (IAH) in IAR Section 5 under “Exchanges with Non-Refundable Residual Value” for more details about this process. ARC also provides self-paced online training for IAR and other agency tools.