Argentina Wants Access To Your Frequent Flyer Accounts

Filed Under: Travel

Argentina is in a pretty abysmal financial state at the moment, and it’s having quite an impact on the travel industry. Tourism is down, and some airlines are reducing service as a result. There are rumors of even bigger airline service cuts than what we’re seeing already.


Amidst the financial turmoil, it looks like the government of Argentina wants more information about passengers flying into and out of the country. Per the Buenos Aires Herald:

AFIP and Airport Police joint resolution 3667 establishes that in 180 days from now, airlines will have to deliver more information, organized in 31 categories, of each registered passenger.

The document argues that the new legal framework will enable the government to have “unique, updated real-time information to optimize control and supervision processes, simplify customs, migration and airport security procedures.”

So what information does the government want at least 72 hours before a trip?

  • Airline ID code
  • Flight number
  • Flight departure/arrival time and date
  • Flight Origin and destination
  • Total number of passengers
  • ID of everyone on board of the flight
  • Nationality
  • Name and Surname according to ID
  • Date of birth according to ID
  • Passengers file number within the national Passenger Names Registry (PNR)
  • Reservation date
  • Trip itinerary
  • Method of payment
  • Billing address
  • Billing order
  • Telephone number
  • Information on frequent-flyer programmes
  • Travel agency
  • Travel agent
  • Information on divided PNR
  • Information on ticket issuing
  • Date of ticket issuing
  • Passenger’s no show record
  • Passenger’s go show record
  • Waiting list information
  • Luggage information
  • Seat number
  • Seat information

That’s a lot of information!

Of course some of the above makes sense, though information on things like frequent flyer programs? Really?

Airlines have privacy policies and a duty to protect passenger data, so will they update their policies to reflect all the data that could be passed on to the government of Argentina, will you have to “consent” whenever you book a ticket to/from Argentina, or do airlines already have the right to share all this information?

I’m not an attorney and won’t even claim to have an explanation. But a reader forwarded this to me and had a more nefarious take on their intentions.

I sure would love to head back to Buenos Aires. Too bad the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is still priced in USD, or else it would be a steal…

What’s your take on the new data that the Argentinian government is requesting?

  1. I reckon that this intends to enhance control of Argentina’s own citizens, and not foreigns. The country is trying to prevent money from leaving the country. They wanna know who holds bank accounts abroad. This, I believe, is why they want information on method of payment and billing address, for instance.

    An additional reason could be that they want to target people that are bringing undeclared goods into the country. Hence the request for advance info on luggage and itinerary.

  2. Novotel Obelisco is great… Always got the suite by no more than 100 usd
    And it was the best platinum treatment that i’ve got in an Accor hotel

  3. Heard rumors that AA and Delta may cancel all flights to Buenos Aires by the end of the year. Not sure if true or not. Argentina unfortunately is becoming the new Cuba and it is very said to see many friends from Argentina suffering in the hands of a crazy (totally nuts) president. It is a beautiful country with amazing cuisine and wine and BA is a classy city. Population is having huge restrictions on what they can do, buy, etc… and if you show up there with USD cash you are king. People will give you all sorts of discounts to have access to USD. Just as an example, official exchange rate for the Argetine peso is around at 8.50 pesos/USD while the black market called “blue” is close to 16 pesos/USD.

  4. Arriving in Buenos AIres EZE airport is INSANE ! After clearing immigration and having no checked luggage, I have to wait in hour long lines that snake like an accordion to have my bags x-rayed. Apparently they are looking primarily for Argentine nationals to see if they are bringing new undeclared goods which are subject for import duty. On my last trip, I handed the X-ray tech my passport and being that it wasn’t an Argentine passport, he didn’t svn look at the x-ray screen !!!

    They should separate the lines – foreigners and nationals.

    Also, be forewarned if you take Argentine Pesos out of Argentina – no country will exchange into local currency.

  5. And what does the US government ask the airlines? Pretty much the same information, if not more. I don’t see the big deal.

  6. @JMR: Even if it is true that US asks the same information, the reason behind asking the information is very different. For the US it is about avoiding terrorists to enter the country. For Argentina, it is all about the government having more and more control over its own people. They couldn’t care less for foreigners visiting the country (as someone mentioned above his experience with the X-Ray) but this is all about controlling every single move of Argentinians. Look at Cuba in the past and see if you find the similarities. Very sad to see that country going downhill.

  7. This looks to me to be almost identical to the APIS information the US (and other) government has been demanding for a long time. Apart from that, the US goverment also have access to full PNR data (including FFP status, meal preferences etc.) for all pax on flights to/from the US – which caused a big stir with EU privacy commissioners until they were ultimately blackmailed into submission.

    Excessive? Probably. But Argentina is not the only Banana Republic here.

  8. @Lucky – what nefarious intent did your source of the information surmise.

    Right now Argentina is really displeased with the United States over litigation concerning their sovereign debt default although the problem appears to be that no one in Argentina understands that the State Department and Obama cant order the courts here to do anything (checks and balances provided by an independent judiciary).

  9. Dude, don’t count on PH BA ever pricing in undervalued pesos. They aren’t fools.

    And it is just sad how Argentina has gone from South America’s most vibrant society a century ago to one where populists blame others for the failings of Peronist policies.

  10. This is nothing compared to what airlines provide other countries. Even the UAE and Spain collect more info than this.

  11. I’m pretty sure, if you book a flexible rate, you can pay in cash at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. Their quoted dollar rate would be converted on the bill at 8.5 pesos to the dollar. However, if you exchange at the current “blue” rate, you would get 15 to the dollar. That’s quite a discount! I confirmed this is the case at the Park Hyatt Mendoza.

  12. So do the US and Spain x-ray all incoming suitcases? And do they primarily want this information about their own citizens, rather than non-citizens?

    Argentina is following the downward spiral into economic ruin, and fascist control of ordinary people, that inevitably comes with Socialist policies. Yes, we can see the beginning stages of that happening here, but Argentina is a decade ahead of us. Something to ponder before you vote this November.

  13. Wow, Lucky, I thought your site was blessedly free of Tea Party trolls, but I found one!

    Remember to vote for the Republicans this November or SOCIALISM OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

  14. Robert Hanson has literally no idea what he is talking about. Argentina has experimented with every kind of economy there is, and the lack of a moderate approach is probably more to blame for its excessive economic reactions to external shocks than any ‘socialist’ programs. They had some serious experiments in deregulation and fiscal conservatism that helped to precipitate the collapse in 2001. This time, the lack of government transparency is likely to lead to a worse reaction than is necessary; hopefully, it will allow them to become more moderate again.

    Argentina has a lot going for it, and I hope they recover. As for the data, eh.

  15. My wife and I lived in Mendoza and San Rafael for five years while building vineyards that we sold off as “Boutique” vineyards. We now share our time between Argentina and Miami.

    When we hired our vineyard workers in 2008 we paid AR 1,400 pesos per month plus a 23% premium for Government mandated “employee benefits”. That year the price paid be kilo of Malbec was AR 3.5 pesos and the value of a peso was about AR 3.5 pesos fort each 1 US Dollar.

    Today our vineyards workers receive AR 5,400 pesos per month plus a 23% premium for Government mandated “employee benefits.

    What do our Malbec grapes sell for today? AR 3.2 pesos per kilo.

    Gasoline has increased over 300%, electricity over 200% and materials over 200%.

    I don’t think you have to be a Rocket Scientist to deduce that you cannot consistently raise a business’ costs without ever raising the cost of goods it sells.

  16. >Wow, Lucky, I thought your site was blessedly free of Tea Party trolls, but I found one!

    >Remember to vote for the Republicans this November or SOCIALISM OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

    No Tea Party here, but you should consider Argentina’s history a bit more before giving socialism a free pass.

  17. People can argue left vs right, but the idea that socialism=fascism and capitalism=freedom is belied by even the most cursory view of history. Let’s just stay in South America, Pinochet’s Chile was a brutal dictatorship…and extremely free-market. So low taxes, but you get tossed from an airplane if you dispute the government. Some freedom!

    I’d like to go back to Argentina someday myself, I visited years ago when things were more stable. And it’s too bad they have a loony left wing government running things, but craziness is not a unique province of the left.

    As for those arguing that Socialist Kenyan Dictator Obama is turning the USA into a socialist hell, you pretty much disqualify yourself from any reasonable discussion of the topic by displaying your naked ignorance of what real socialism is.

  18. Lucky, this type of information is required by every country. I worked for ground handling agent in UK and can say with whole certainty that UK Special Branch had these details on every pax, domestic or international and low cost airline Ryanair in particular demands that information to be in the system before departure of every flight.

  19. @Andrew, that’s what I thought too until I found a currency exchange place in Asuncion, Paraguay that accepted Argentine pesos!

  20. No government is as intrusive of personal information as the US, and they are the leaders. They want and get all of that plus hotel and rental car bookings in the same PNR. You should write about that.

  21. FYI Robert Hanson:
    I don’t know if you have traveled outside your trailer park but… Argentina is not Spain.

  22. For the record, Brazil recently announced a similar initiative. Brazilians spend an average of $2 billion a month abroad on shopping due to the incredibly high price of everything in Brazil. This is putting a strain on the country’s foreign currency reserves and balance of payments. Instead of being smart about it and realizing that the true cause of this mess is the retarded (and debunked) practice of protectionism (high import taxes) as well as corruption which causes politicians to constantly vote for abusive taxes (to fill the coffers so that they can loot them), instead the government is going after its own citizens.

    The stated objective of the initiative is to catch people bringing dutiable goods into the country. I’m sure an unstated and secondary goal is also to find those with large accounts abroad, but that’s really not the big problem here as even middle class Brazilians with no foreign accounts exchange dollars locally and take them abroad to shop. Ironically, the only ones with huge accounts abroad are the crooked politicians and their cronies. 🙂

  23. Lucky, FYI I stayed at the Park Hyatt B.A. two weeks ago and although the hotel is priced in USD on their website, the final bill is actually produced in Argentinian Pesos. Which of course meant we paid by cash (having exchanged at Blue Dolar rate). I asked the lady at checkin if this was comment, and she said that very very few people paid by credit card these days – all cash!

  24. Lucky,
    You should check your sources before posting in your blog.
    As you can read several comments before mine, the data requested by Argentina is very similar to what other countries have been doing for years.
    The tourism influx has been only growing in the last years. You can check here:
    Besides, all airlines have been adding frequencies in the last years as well. There hasn’t been any reduction of frequencies in the last months apart of the normal up and down of seasonal flights.
    So your post has nothing to do with the facts which makes me doubt about the truthfulness of the rest.

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