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Passenger Name Record (PNR)

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What is a Passenger Name Record?

A Passenger Name Record is a 10-digit number that is automatically generated when a customer books a train or plane ticket. The PNR is stored within a Computer Reservation System alongside a range of information about the passenger including the itinerary and other personal information.

Why was the PNR created?

The initial standards for the PNR were created by IATA and ATA in response to the need for airlines to exchange reservation information when passengers needed to use multiple airlines throughout their journey.

Equipped with the PNR, airlines are able to easily share information and get a complete insight into a passenger’s journey. Despite emerging for use exclusively by airlines, the numbers are also used by hotels, car rental companies, train operators, and more.

Which information is included in a PNR?

There is no strict industry standard for the structure or type of information that needs to be included with a PNR. With that said, shared priorities and needs mean that there are common structures that have emerged.

Essential Information

The following information is essential to a PNR and is required before a booking can be made:

  • The passenger name
  • The contact details for the travel agent
  • The name of the person providing the information
  • The ticket details
  • The itinerary of at least one portion of the trip

Supplementary Information

Once this information has been provided, the PNR will be generated and it won’t change regardless of amendments that are made to the booking. A range of supplementary information is often stored too, such as:

  • Contact information for the passenger and travel agency
  • Age details if necessary
  • Frequent flyer information
  • Information about seating
  • Special Service Requests (SSR) if necessary
  • Information about the fare
  • The amount of taxes paid on a booking
  • The payment method
  • Any vendor remarks.

Additional Information

After terrorist attacks in New York and Madrid, governments around the world determined that the PNR can be a key tool in the fight against terrorism. Many governments now demand that organizations collect additional information about each passenger. This includes:

  • The gender of the passenger
  • Passport details
  • All payment/billing information
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth

Who created the PNR?

The initial standards for the PNR were initially developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines for America (ATA).

Are passengers concerned about the privacy implications of the PNR system?

The PNR system means that a lot of personal information is collected about passengers. Some critics wonder whether privacy or security should come first, and there is a divide between the proponents and opponents of the PNR system.