PNR on United Airlines Ticket

There is a PNR record on all the United Airlines ticket. Typically, it is printed on the upper-right corner on every page of the ticket. I always wanted to find out the secret behind the 6-digit alpha-numeric code. PNR seems the abbr. of PartNeR to me, but it is obvious a wrong guess.

I still remember when Wendy was planning her trip to U.S via United Airlines, the agent from UAL (800-810-8282 or 21-62798009) asked about the reservation ID. It may referring to this special number. I know that they have a system that provided with this 6-digit number, they are able to pull out all the travel information about my trip from the computer system. BTW, if you are interested, the United Airlines Shanghai Office is located at Shanghai Level 2 South Podium Suite 204, Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel, 1376 Nanjing Road West – a very nice place. The airport bus #2 just stop before the building. Their telephone system is smart. When you dial their toll-free telephone number 800-810-8282 from Shanghai (this is a toll free number in Beijing which can be judged by the middle “-810-“), you are automatically routed to their Shanghai office.

PNR is Passenger Name Record

Today, I finally found out that PNR is not for partner. It is the abbr. for Passenger Name Record. It is a strange name – why call it Name Record? Here are two very good explanations about PNR

A PNR in itself, is just simply a 6-digit alpha-numeric reservation number, which is generated by the computer when you buy/book/reserve a ticket. It allows any UA employee to bring up your entire reservation by punching that 6-digit number into the computer.

Alternatively, they can find your entire record by also searching one of your flight numbers then looking up your name. Even though schedules change, flight numbers, times, etc., the PNR number never changes.

As for the info contained in it…Unless you specifically tick off a UA CSR when discussing that particular record, there’s not going to be anything bad about you in it. When your trip is completed, that PNR is purged from the UA system (or so they would like us to believe–for all of you conspiracy theorists).

I think I know what you’re getting at here…A PNR is non-recurring, not like your Mileage Plus number…The MP info carries from one reservation to another, but not your PNR. And there is a very limited amount of info carried from res to res on your MP account–your status, seating prefs, silver wings (senior), class of service, and (I think) special meal prefs…But no room for permanent individually-entered pokes at you.

Text Credit: MBS PremExec from

The Passenger Name Record (PNR) is the generic name given to the files created by the airlines for each journey any passenger books. They are stored in the airlines’ reservation and departure control databases. PNR allows all the different agents within the air industry (from the travel agent and the computer reservation systems (CRS) to the carrier and the handling agents at the airports) to recognize each passenger and have access to all relevant information related to his/her journey: departure and return flights, connecting flights (if any), special services required on board the flight, etc.

The number and nature of fields of information in a PNR system will vary from airline to airline. There are approximately 20-25 possible fields of PNR data, some of which include subsets of information, expanding the total to approximately 60 fields and sub-fields.

Text Credit: FAQ about PNR on EU website.

They are very good study materials.

CSR in airline industry

I am interested in how the ticket booking and seat arrangement work. I even observed the ticket booking transactions behind a ticket reservation agent. The system people use to book domestic flight in China is different than all the other part of the world. It is called the CAAC Reservation System.

Code English Name Scope





1J AXESS Japan


1T TOPAS Korea



Credit: Thanks for the Ruizhi BBS

I have discussed this in my previous blog at PVG: Book Domestic Flight in China.

There is PNR record on paper ticket in China. Instead, it is marked as Book Code. They are 5-digit alpha-numeric code. Sometimes, there is a tailing /1E marking the code is available for the CSR in China.

It seems not easy to access the system using web interface. :-(


As I described in this article: United Airlines is Good, the E-Ticket service by United is amazing. This is what the world should look like. There is no E-Ticket in China.

BTW, many people are asking about whether e-ticket can be used in China. The answer is yes and no. For flights like United, e-ticket can be used. I used my e-ticket to check-in at PVG for my flight from PVG to SFO. However, airlines based in China, including Air China, do not offer e-ticket.

Book Domestic Flight

To find out domestic flight information in China is not easy. I was surprised when I receive help request from people in U.S. for domestic flight information. Typical questions are:

Is there any flight from Shanghai to Chongqing….

In my opinion, There is no good information on the Internet for domestic flight in China, just like the limited resource on Shanghai Pudong International Airport. It is a shame for the air industry in China again.

Experimental Flight Information Page

As an experiment, I created a China Domestic Flight Information page. The page listed the flight information departing or arriving at Shanghai Airport.

For example, here is the flight information for flight from SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao to KWL – Guilin

SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao to KWL – Guilin

Click the table header to sort the column.         Returning flight: KWL – Guilin to SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao











Shanghai Airlines

Shanghai Airlinesa


SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao

KWL – Guilin





1150 RMB or 139 USD

China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlinesa


SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao

KWL – Guilin





1150 RMB or 139 USD

Shanghai Airlines

Shanghai Airlinesa


SHA – Shanghai Hongqiao

KWL – Guilin





1150 RMB or 139 USD

China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlinesa


PVG – Shanghai Pudong

KWL – Guilin





1150 RMB or 139 USD

The Experimental Flight Information Page Reached the Top Return Result in Google

Surprisingly, when you search a flight information between Shanghai and other cities in China in Google, for example, searching for flight from Shanghai to Haikou, flight from shanghai to xiamen, or flight from Shanghai to Dalian, the list pages are returned as No. 1 in the search result.

This is the result of two factors:

  1. High Goolge PageRank value of my site. The PR value for is PR5 now. It is relatively high for a personal website. The higher PR a site have, the better the position in Google search result it is. The PageRank value is contributed by the high quality of article on this site.
  2. The lack of domestic flight information in China. It also an evidence that no one are really taking the advantage of the Internet to do business.

You are encouraged to have a try with the system. It really works. Someone is monitoring the site and help booking flights ticket. :-)

Happy Flying!

11 thoughts on “PNR on United Airlines Ticket

  1. goodgoing shou wang: i would have guessed that pnr d 4 ur is pin #. were u approached by ne agents while u waited ten hours? seems reasonable that someone would get curious about u.if u had rode a motorcycle, one of those beautiful 250 harley styles that are available cheep, it would have been a more memorable experience.just a thot. if u get a chance test drive one. they r 2000$us in mexico. i want one but uncle sam won’t give me the money they owe me for filling the dek in operation desert storm2.or any money 4 my service in the c1a 4 that matter. they sayi killed the wrong person and wounded another. hey! they were shooting at me. i had 2. oh well it’s my hare doo. they may wait till i’m dead b 4 they pay. it’s cheeper that wa.

  2. Wufui,

    Thanks for posting, but I am not sure about the meaning of the comment, like your previous comment. Sorry for that.

  3. Maybe I’m not reading very carefully, but if the six digit PNR can uniquely identify a passenger does that mean that at any given time, there can be at most 999,999 people flying in the United Airlines system, including those with advanced bookings? That seems quite limiting. But I’m probably missing something here.


  4. David, it is a good guess for 999,999 people there. Actually, the 6 digit are combination of both digit and character. I am not sure if there is any character elminated from the list. If not, there should be 36 possibility for each digit. The combination is 2,176,782,336

    (=Power(36, 6). That is 2 billion and large enough.

  5. Dear Sir / Madam ,

    I would like to know the quote price on ethopian air line

    from Lagos to Philippine Roundtrip Via economy

    Class Departing for 15 of novermber 2004 and returning on

    14th of dec 2004 and Ticket Type ; E-Ticket Kindly

    let me know the total amount of the flight so as to

    forward the passengers names to you for the booking

    reservation. And also let me know the type of credit

    card you accept for the payment so that I can forward

    the names and payment .While I will be waiting to hear

    from you as soon as possible .


    yours faithfully


    Tour Consultant.

  6. it’s pleasant to seach for your on google and i wish your good new year i will like to make and inquiry about your company that are you and ticketing travelling agent there if so i will like to know maybe your are in world written ticket to in a case that if i need a ticket for my client because i have some client that use to need ticket from asia that i will not able to make it for them and i wish you can be able to do it for me maybe eletronic ticketing for them anytime i need it so i will able to be email you as i will need the route to be sir ok.urgent get that to me sir as soon you get this my messege and i will wait to ready from you soon too thank

  7. sri lanka air lines 8th of jan flight UL 171 depature 7.58 am .

    the new pnr nos is BMM7A2

    pls advise how to get e ticket through net

  8. Hi

    Is the United Airlines office still in the Portman Ritz Carlton

    Lee Rosenberg

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