PNR is acronym for Passenger Name Record. This is a record of an individual passenger which exist in the database of computer reservation system that has the itinerary of a traveller, or a group of traveller flying together. Initially this concept was used by airline industry to exchange reservation information in case of traveller needed flights of multiple airlines in order to arrive their desired destination.
This is the most convenient and simplest way to track the information each and every passenger travelling through particular flight. PNR Number remains unchanged during the journey and cannot be modified or changed until end of your journey.
As the idea of PNR become successful in the airline industry, the railway industry embraced it too. Now IRCTC and Indian Railway offer PNR No. to all the tickets booked by them in order to make the checking easier.
If we talk about Indian Railways or IRCTC, PNR is a 10 unique ten digit number assigned to every single ticket purchased through IRCTC Website or reservation counter. You can find this number on the top left corner of your railway ticket.
In the airline and travel industries, a passenger name record (PNR) is a record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers travelling together. The concept of a PNR was first introduced by airlines that needed to exchange reservation information in case passengers required flights of multiple airlines to reach their destination (“interlining”). For this purpose, IATA and ATA have defined standards for interline messaging of PNR and other data through the “ATA/IATA Reservations Interline Message Procedures – Passenger” (AIRIMP). There is no general industry standard for the layout and content of a PNR. In practice, each CRS or hosting system has its own proprietary standards, although common industry needs, including the need to map PNR data easily to AIRIMP messages, has resulted in many general similarities in data content and format between all of the major systems.
When a passenger books an itinerary, the travel agent or travel website user will create a PNR in the computer reservation system it uses. This is typically one of the large Global Distribution Systems, such as Amadeus, Sabre, Worldspan or Galileo, but if the booking is made directly with an airline the PNR can also be in the database of the airline’s CRS. This PNR is called the Master PNR for the passenger and the associated itinerary. The PNR is identified in the particular database by a record locator.
When portions of the travel are not provided by the holder of the Master PNR, then copies of the PNR information are sent to the CRSes of the airlines that will be providing transportation. These CRSes will open copies of the original PNR in their own database to manage the portion of the itinerary for which they are responsible. Many airlines have their CRS hosted by one of the GDSes, which allows sharing of the PNR.
The record locators of the copied PNRs are communicated back to the CRS that owns the Master PNR, so all records remain tied together. This allows exchanging updates of the PNR when the status of trip changes in any of the CRSes.
Although PNRs were originally introduced for air travel, airlines systems can now also be used for bookings of hotels, car rental, airport transfers, and train trips.
From a technical point, there are five parts of a PNR required before the booking can be completed. They are:
- The name of the passenger
- Contact details for the travel agent or airline office.
- Ticketing details, either a ticket number or a ticketing time limit.
- Itinerary of at least one segment, which must be the same for all passengers listed.
- Name of the person providing the information or making the booking.
Other information, such as a timestamp and the agency’s pseudo-city code, will go in to the booking automatically. All entered information will be retained in the “history” of the booking.
Once the booking has been completed to this level, the CRS will issue a unique all alpha or alpha-numeric record locator, which will remain the same regardless of any further changes made (except if a multi-person PNR is split). Each airline will create their own booking record with a unique record locator, which, depending on service level agreement between the CRS and the airline(s) involved, will be transmitted to the CRS and stored in the booking.
A considerable amount of other information is often desired by both the airlines and the travel agent to ensure efficient travel. This includes:
- Fare details, and any restrictions that may apply to the ticket.
- The form of payment used, as this will usually restrict any refund if the ticket is not used.
- Further contact details, such as agency phone number and address, additional phone contact numbers at passenger address and intended destination.
- Age details if it is relevant to the travel, e.g., unaccompanied children or elderly passengers requiring assistance.
- Frequent flyer data.
- Special service request code (SSR) such as special meal requirements, seating preferences, wheelchairs, and other similar requests.
- “Optional Services instruction” or “Other Service Information” (OSI) – information sent to a specific airline, or all airlines in the booking, which enables them to better provide a service. This information can include ticket numbers, local contacts details (the phone section is limited to only a few entries), and other details such as a passenger’s language or details of a disability.
- Vendor Remarks. VRs are comments made by the airline, typically generated automatically once the booking or request is completed. These will normally include the airline’s own record locator, replies to special requests, and advice on ticketing time limits. While normally sent by the airlines to an agent, it is also possible for an agent to send a VR to an airline.
In more recent times, many governments now require the airline to provide further information included to assist investigators tracing criminals or terrorists. These include:
- Passengers’ gender
- Passport details – nationality, number, and date of expiry
- Date and place of birth
- Redress number, (if previously given to the passenger by the US authorities).
- All available payment/billing information.