The Airlines Reporting Corp. delayed the date for the elimination of the travel agent coupon to May 9. It said the delay will give ARC-accredited travel agencies and corporate travel departments an extra month to become more familiar with enhancements to the ARC Document Retrieval Service that will be rolled out in early April.

ARC had planned to eliminate the agent coupon on April 4. The ARC Document Retrieval Service makes 39 months of data available to travel agents, CTDs and carriers free of charge. If an agency wants to maintain data that is older than 39 months, it can purchase a CD-ROM of its histories. ARC recently lowered the starting price for the CD from $250 to $150.

Some agents, noting that the information would be essential in the event of a debit memo that goes back farther than three years, had objected to the price. Some also object to the elimination of the agent coupon.

One agent said that if there is an issue with an airline, she does not want to have to depend on ARCs Web site for corroborating information. We want hard copies of our transactions because the airlines make the rules, she said, and the agent coupon is her insurance against any future ticketing dispute. She also noted that agents pay for the stock.

ARC said it is committed to provide state-of-the-art alternatives to inefficient paper recordkeeping. It said DRS also has a number of new enhancements, including advanced search capability with nine new search options; improved design; improved output capabilities, and a new help system with glossary and tutorial.

Similar enhancements have been included on the CD-ROM containing agency transaction history.

Travel agencies have until May 1 to purchase the 2002 CD, after which the information will be purged.