Unicorn was conceived by the European ferry industry to process and respond to travel requests between host ferry reservation systems and travel agents.   Since the first messages were developed in 1985, Unicorn has been expanded to cover other sectors of travel, such as air, general sales, insurance, rail and accommodation.   The ability to provide travel documentation, such as paper tickets and magnetically encoded ATB2’s (Automated Ticket and Boarding cards), is also provided in the message set.   The latest release of Unicorn (Version 6.2) has nearly a hundred and forty messages.

Unicorn was developed within the guidelines defined in the United Nations Trade Data Interchange Standards (UNTDI dated 1975) which included a body of existing applications, principally within freight transport.

Typically, Unicorn is used to pass messages between host computer systems, although there are applications between PCs and hosts.   Unicorn is a set of EDI messages that sit above the user application and have no influence on the presentation of data at the receiving system and is not designed to interact directly with non intelligent terminals.

Unicorn is maintained as a database using Foresight Corporation’s EDISIM product.

Further information

The Unicorn Application Message Standard is issued and maintained by TTI, the official Maintenance Authority.   Development and modification of Unicorn messages is an on-going process through TTI and membership is recommended for any user (discounts range from 50% to 100%, depending on membership type).

For non members of TTI the cost of supplying a copy of Unicorn on CD or as an email attachment is currently £1500, or £1,000 for an earlier version upgrade.

Additional fees for an End User Licence are payable by those organisations using Unicorn standard messages or modifications thereof, whether they are TTI Members or not. When purchasing a copy of the Message Standard, a complimentary 12-month Licence is provided.

For fuller information on Unicorn, download ‘An Introduction to Unicorn’ (pdf).

To apply

Members of TTI may download the Message Standard from our FILE DOWNLOADS area.

Non-members should contact TTI for an application form

To apply for an End User Licence, download a Registration Form (pdf).