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There was an interesting opinion pages piece on the New York Times yesterday “Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More” about airlines goal of offering customized airfares for fliers that LoyaltyLobby reader alerted me. This article is interesting and worth reading. You can access it here.

ny-times-opinion-piece

The goal for the airlines is to recognize the individual traveler before the choice of prizes and possible packages are offered. They will try to implement this via online travel agencies like Expedia etc. too. [click to continue...]

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Visa & health entry requirements vary depending of the country where you live, the transit countries on your journey, and vaccinations you have had. It is really difficult to keep track of them. The embassies websites are often full of outdated information.

visa-health-timatic

I got caught about these the other week when I was denied boarding South African Airways flight from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg because I didn’t have my Yellow fever vaccination booklet with me. I wrote a piece about the ordeal and about my vaccinations in Bangkok.

There is a terrific tool that is constantly updated and then used by the airlines to check passenger’s eligibility to enter countries. This service is called Timatic and it is part of IATA.

Timatic features:

  • Passport requirements and recommendations
  • Visa requirements and recommendations
  • Health requirements and recommendations
  • Airport tax to be paid by the traveler at either departure or arrival airport
  • Customs regulations relating to import/export of goods and small pets by a passenger
  • Currency regulations relating to import and export by a passenger

Most of the airlines don’t have the whole version available on their websites. The health module is most of the time missing, although it is equally important as visas etc. If you don’t have i.e. yellow fever vaccination proof when entering South Africa from Brazil, your entry will be denies either by the airlines or by immigration.

Luckily, the Star Alliance has made this tool available on their website. You need to plug in your nationality, permanent residence, transit points, and the destination, and the system will split out the requirements for each and every step.

Here’s a typical display:

visa-health-chile

visa-health-chile-health

Conclusion

It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that they fulfill the entry requirements to any country in their journey. Alternatively, it is likely that the airline will catch this and will deny boarding as happened in my case. Denying boarding is better than immigration denying entry and putting you back to the country where you are coming from.

The tool that you can find on Star Alliance’s website is truly terrific. You should check the entry requirements to countries that you visit. Sometimes there are unexpected changes and vaccination requirements may depend of the transit countries in your journey even if you don’t leave the airport.

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When it comes to travel, it is sometimes confusing to find out what Visas or other travel documents, like health certificates, one might need to enter the country. Also how long one can stay often depends of the travel document used,and from which country it is from.

IATA Timatic For Checking entry Requirements For Various CountriesWhat I have found to be the most useful tool to check the entry requirements, the same tool that the airline personnel also use when checking you in, is the IATA’s Timatic. http://www.timaticweb.com/ [click to continue...]

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We all know the terrible feeling when you are waiting for your checked bag to arrive by the carousel and it doesn’t.

When flying on better airlines, they typically already have somebody waiting for you with a sign, close to the baggage carousel, if your bag didn’t make it. Airlines often know if certain bags are delayed and left behind.

IATA Standardized Baggage When baggage delay happens the first thing to do is to file a PIR – Property Irregularity Report. First you are shown a picture of various kinds of bags and asked to identify what is closest to yours. Then the airline needs your permanent and temporarily address. [click to continue...]