Rookie Wednesday: Is it possible to split a Delta reservation and put it into one again!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

Do you think this will work out?

Have you ever split an egg in two and then tried to put it back together into one single egg again including all, and I mean all, of the bits back inside the shell as well? Do you think there is enough tape in the world to accomplish this task? No? I did not think so.

As a general rule of thumb this is how it is with Delta reservations. Once you split a reservation or PNR (short for passenger name record) there is NO going back!

Well this was a short post then. Can you stop reading? Maybe not so fast. Because believe it or not I have successfully put a split PNR back into one – ONCE – and only one time (this should not mistakenly fill you with confidence of success btw).

Now just so you know the circumstance of my split and redo it was all during one call and it was to the Asian call center. I did tell them NOT to split it and they did anyway so they sorta had to find a way to reissue it again as one itinerary. But this does tell us something:

Then can reissue into one PNR – if they want to.

The last part is really the key and let me tell you they do not want to – EVER! They will tell you NO in every way possible on earth. My guess, and it is just a guess, is that there is much to explain if they ever have to do this and much manual overrides and forcing of things they should not. Plus, with the new dumbed down reservations systems I am sure it is much harder than before to get done.

The bottom line for this post is never let them split a reservation unless you really want them to. Linking two PNRs is nice but not the same. You can miss out on so much that becomes automated when both are on the same PNR.

Now if they do something to mess it up I would push and hold the line or ask for a supervisor or anyone at Delta to fix it as you should not have to suffer if it is their fault. Just be tenacious and do not accept anything other than a reissue with one single number. – René





  1. If one person had Delta status, and books a paid ticket is there any way to add someone to that reservation after the fact to be eligible for the upgrades and seat choices? Furthermore, lets say the other person paid in miles, or cash (not basic E) does this matter? If it is possible to do you have a recommended strategy to achieve this.

  2. Twice I’ve been able to get Delta to rejoin a PNR. Once because a companion certificate booking was split and another because a gate upgrade (only one upgrade spot available) and leaving separated would have removed my travel companions chance at an upgrade. It’s possible but they hate it.

  3. Rene – I work in the travel industry, for many years as a travel agent and for the past 30 years on the IT side of the business. I’ve worked for a GDS company (SystemOne which was owned by Eastern and Continental) and in my present role in IT for a mega global Travel Management company.

    There are some basic rules around PNR’s in all of the airline systems and GDS systems. A PNR can be created for a single passenger or multiple passengers. Once a PNR is created you cannot add additional passengers to the same PNR. Once a PNR is split into 2 or more PNR’s you cannot re-combine it. Yes you can add segments (air, car, hotel, tour, misc). You can change segments you can remove segments that is by design but the basic 50 year plus rule of the first computerized system called PARS that was developed by IBM does not allow changes to passengers.

    This is especially the case where you might be booking segments on multiple carriers as each system needs to “talk” to the other system and keep the PNR data in sync and even when splitting a PNR the synchronization of the PNR data can get confused.

    So not sure what you think that Delta Asia call center did but in the Delta reservation system hosted by TravelPort’s Worldspan there is no way to re-combine a split PNR. The same goes for any airline since their res systems are all offshoots of the original PARS system.

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