IATA Now Charging For COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map

Filed Under: Travel Technology

Well this is pretty disappointing…

IATA’s useful interactive coronavirus travel map

It can be extremely difficult to keep up with international travel regulations, given how frequently they change, and how complex they are.

A couple of month ago I wrote about IATA’s COVID-19 travel regulations map, powered my Timatic. This has been a useful tool to reference in order to get a sense of what the regulations are in a particular country. It’s similar information to what many airlines use to determine if a passenger is eligible to travel to a destination.

This map typically presented the most up to date information, though it wasn’t necessarily as detailed as you might need to fully plan a trip.

Using this map is no longer free

Initially using this resource was completely free, though that has now changed:

  • IATA will now let you search the entry requirements for three countries for free
  • After that you’ll be prompted to get a membership to Timatic COVID-19 alerts, which costs 199EUR per year
  • It would appear that using a new incognito browser is a way to get around having to pay this fee, should you want to look up more countries than that

I totally get that running the site is probably costly, but IATA is also a trade organization representing most of the world’s major airlines. This was a useful tool for navigating the impossible world of international travel regulations at the moment. You’d think creating an easy to use service would be in the best interest of IATA’s member airlines, and is something that should be invested in.

If there is going to be a cost for this, you’d hope it would be less than 199EUR.

What’s the next best alternative?

IATA’s tool powered by Timatic was by far the best overall resource for getting an overview ofĀ  current regulations. We also have a coronavirus travel policies and regulations page on OMAAT that we try to keep updated as much as possible.

While it’s sad to see IATA now trying to charge for using this, the reality is that it never gave you all the information you’d need to get a full picture of requirements to travel somewhere. For example, it wouldn’t always include details like if a quarantine is required, what kind of testing is required, etc.

You’re best off directly consulting the government website for the country you’re traveling to, given the complexity of some rules, and how often they change.

Bottom line

IATA’s handy and easy to use use coronavirus travel regulations map is now only free for three countries, and after that you have to buy a membership for 199EUR per year. While I get it probably wasn’t cheap to run, I also feel like this was a vital tool that you’d think IATA would want a lot of people to have access to.

You can always still do three searches for free (and use an incognito window to do more searches), and you’ll also want to directly visit government websites for full details of travel restrictions.

(Tip of the hat to You Have Been Upgraded)

  1. Never thought this organisation cared to treat the traveling public ( the customer ) with the respect they deserve, and I’m not surprised at all by this move.

  2. Letā€™s say I paid and accessed the map. Will they assure me the information is accurate? Or will they have a disclaimer.
    Just check with the airline or the consulate as I said before

  3. Having been a past chairman or member of IATA industry boards, conferences, and working groups I can tell you that IATA never a misses a chance to make a buck.

    It wasnā€™t always that way. In the past their membership dues covered their expenses and they truly served, and at times regulated, the airline industry. But member carriers began to push back on dues increases and IATA had to find alternative revenue sources.

    That said, one would think that they would be doing everything possible to get people back on planes. Charging such a high fee for this vital information seems to be counter productive towards that goal.

  4. Oh my God. This is not just an ‘ordinary service’s. It’s an essential one and vital for passengers as they are looking out for travel restrictions. It’s important that they continue to provide this for free and charging exorbitant prices (trust me, EUR199 is too much for a map!?) for something that’s really important is preposterous (Just like the US Healthcare system lol).

    Hopefully, this should be nothing more than a joke. Or just better, check on with the airline website/Consulate of the country you are travelling to.

  5. IATA site is good but the information is very limited, for the full picture I use travelbans.org also there is a feature to check what countries opened for you (based on the citizenship). There are more details information especially for Europe and also with Airlines updates

  6. They are a business people and providing a service. Granted there is a pandemic but that doesn’t mean businesses all suddenly become charities! If you want to use the service beyond the limited free countries (which frankly should be enough for most people given how limited international travel is currently) then pay for it!

    Not sure why everyone thinks they should get a free ride and all they worry about is impact on them regarding fees/miles/points etc when they are the least of the concerns. Businesses make decisions based on their overall plans and requirements, you just have to adjust. Learn to live with that!

  7. Iā€™m not sure we should be surprised that an airline-related website would charge for something like this – I suppose itā€™s their version of an extra luggage charge.

  8. @ Ben — This is pretty moronic of IATA. Great way to promote the purchase of airline tickets. Seriously, is anyway actually going to pay to use this map?

  9. If you click to go to their page for subscription options it opens a new tab but if you go back to the map page it shows you the entry restrictions for the country you clicked on anyway, so it’s painful and I am sure will be patched but for the moment that is a workaround.

  10. Actually IATA is trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the safety of the traveling public. This isnā€™t the same has their usual exorbitant charges for publications like the Dangerous Good and Live Animals Regulations manuals. They are now trying to monitize critical information that is needed during a worldwide pandemic.

    Shame on IATA, and shame on their member carriers that allow them to do this.

  11. I’m really surprised about all these negative comments and the lack of knowledge. The map is still free of charge. Just access it later or use a different browser and you are able to check the country you want to travel to. I personally only check one or two countries and not 20 other countries…
    Did anyone think of why IATA introduced a captcha code, maybe an issue of data fraud? I came across many website which just copied the IATA data (picked any random date and didn’t keep it up-to-date). If people rely on this – this could be far more misleading. I will keep checking the IATA website (free of charge)ā€¦.

    TLS: Do you know where Taiwan is located? It is listed as Chinese Taipei and clearly visible.

  12. The site is still available, they’re just validating that you’re human (not a robot), nothing else! (Just as Sara said above šŸ™‚ )

    You can view three countries, then just submit a new captcha and look at another three countries. Free of charge!

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