Well this is pretty disappointing…
In this post:
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 of 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.
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)