The COVID-19 crisis has caused airlines to cancel more than one million flights globally. This changed the way airlines process refunds or offer credit for future flights. IATA has launched several activities to assist the industry efficiently addres the customer vouchers topic.

Customer vouchers initiatives

Industry Engagement

IATA received a set of recommendations (pdf) jointly drafted by the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA), the United Federation of Travel Agent’s Associations (UFTAA), the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA) and TravelTech, reflecting the recommendations provided by the distribution chain in regards to the usage of vouchers and refunds, and for Airlines to consider individually.

These recommendations are published by IATA for general information purposes only. They do not purport to be commercial, legal or other advice. Nothing contained in these recommendations constitutes a recommendation, endorsement or preference by IATA. Different jurisdictions have varying (consumer and other) laws, regulations and procedures. No user of the information should act or rely on any information from these recommendations without seeking the advice of a competent legal counsel. This information is not intended to substitute for any business’ individual decision.

Repository of Airline Policies

IATA has developed a central repository for airline vouchers and ticket exchange policies to allow agents to access and process vouchers and ticket exchange information from each participating airline in a timely manner.

Standards

This information paper for airlines on customer vouchers in COVID-19 crisis (pdf) seeks to address some of the queries received from our member airlines with regards to the use of customer vouchers, such as: 

  • Constraints and impacts airlines must consider when using vouchers
  • Options available to airlines within existing standards to facilitate voucher policies

Please also see these  customer vouchers guidelines to IATA standards (pdf), providing guidance for airlines and travel agents.

In addition, discussions are under way in various groups under the Passenger Standards Conference on possible changes to industry standards to better facilitate the issuance and redemption of vouchers. They cover:

  • Possible changes to ticketing standards and offer and order management standards (as described by the New Distribution Capability or NDC program).
  • The possible development of new standards allowing airlines to exchange data with card acquirers.

Please contact us for more information on how to get involved.

Automated management of incentives

To support airlines and agent, Global-net-remit (GNR5) now offers automation of the management of incentives placed for the issuance of vouchers or alternate transactions placed as an exchange. This service is offered at a special rate to airlines until the end of the year. Please contact the GNR5 team for more information.

Do you need more information about handling vouchers? 

Please contact us at standards@iata.org