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Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

California, USA
posts: 8
reviews: 2
Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Hi,

I am going to go tomorrow for an express passport for my son.

His passport is valid for 4 months. The country we are visiting

requires a validity of 90 days before entering, so we should

be okay. The state dept. says on its website, the passport should

be valid for reentry (no duration specified).

so, both governments are okay. But I called the airline (US Airways)

and they said they wouldn't let my son board without 6 months

validity.

Why do they have more power than governments ? and why

6 months ? why not seven ? or five ?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 48,975
reviews: 15
1. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Airlines don't set the requirements, the government of the country one visits do.

Without knowing where you plan to travel it's difficult to say why the US rep made the comment, but the airline's rationale very likely is this: should any passenger be refused entry to a country, the airline will be liable for a hefty fine and have to return that passenger to his or her city of origin.

Where is your destination with US?

California, USA
posts: 8
reviews: 2
2. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Dominican Republic

Calgary, Canada
posts: 3,180
reviews: 44
3. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

...because the airline is the one left with the problem, if the country concerned denies you entry.

Edited: 10:58 pm, December 27, 2012
Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
posts: 27,970
4. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Some countries require 6 months on passports and some airlines are too lazy to have a policy for each country so go for a default one.

UK
posts: 45,448
reviews: 89
5. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Airlines don't set the requirements, the government of the country one visits do.

=======

In this case TP, as clearly explained by the OP, the airline *does* set the requirements by going above and beyond the requirements of that country. There are other examples I've seen, for instance in some Asian countries, the government requirement is that you must have a ticket showing you will leave the country. Some airlines interpret that as an airline ticket, even though a bus or ferry ticket would suffice.

And, in a similar fashion, it is US Airways who require that visitors to some central american countries have an exit airline ticket when any sort of ticket is fine, but they insist upon an airline ticket.

As to why they do this, I dont know. Ultra cautious I suppose, or perhaps the rule used to be 6 months and was relaxed by the country but the airline never changed its rule to match.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 11,427
reviews: 36
6. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

The bottom line is that many countries require a passport valid for 6 months - and the airlines are not going to start having different requirements for different destinations - much easier for them to have a standard policy.

UK
posts: 45,448
reviews: 89
7. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

and the airlines are not going to start having different requirements for different destinations - much easier for them to have a standard policy.

========

Yes its easier, but its certainly not a blanket thing, its airline specific, some most certainly do have different requirements for different destinations.

Leyland, United...
Destination Expert
for Playa Blanca
posts: 23,525
reviews: 44
8. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Sometimes airlines will say they recommend 6 months, as that will cover them for all destinations.

I remember asking a question on here about passport validity a couple of years ago, and was told that the airline does have the final say, even if the destination country doesn't have eg the 6 month rule, the airline can insist their passengers passports do have 6 months.

It is the airline that gets fined if they let anyone fly without the required documentation to enter the country, so maybe they're just being ultra cautious?

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
posts: 28,903
reviews: 77
9. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Until very recently brought about by a young Aussie about to depart to Thailand with only 3 months remaining on his passport the uncontested advice by various DEs (me included) from various countries was that to enter Thailand you needed 6 months unexpired from date of leaving on your passport and any less get a new passport. Then an ex-pat DE for Phuket says that is a load of outdated rubbish as that rule was abolished in 2008! Chaos ensued with most everyone else saying how can this be when the Thai Embassies or Consulates (including the esteemed Royal Thai Consulate in Hull) maintains the 6 month rule is still in force, particularly for those entering Thailand under the Visa Waiver programme.

One of the links quoted in the argument is from Flyertalk and quoting an international authoritative agreement by an organisation called Timatic that purports to give all check in staff for all airlines authoritative access at time of check in to the relevant requirement for each country. See flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1215186-help-…

As a DE for Thailand I am sufficiently concerned about the integrity and credibility of the source I rely on for the advice I give to have Emailed the Royal Thai Consulate in Hull, UK, to receive their comments.

This issue was described in the latest discussion as "a can of worms" and I agree entirely!

Incidentally, the young Aussie did not apply for an emergency passport and has reported back that he was allowed ro check in "no questions asked" . Another Aussie posted that a relative in similar circumstances was not allowed to check in buy her (different) airline. Go figure!

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,226
reviews: 74
10. Re: Why do airlines require 6 months validity ?

Hi,

I agree that the issue gets somewhat fuzzy as what the airline wants may vary in fact from what the country wants.. I suspect that this is derived from the fact that there are A LOT of different requirements from country to country and even within one country, what's required can vary based on not only what passport does the passenger hold, but what type of passport (normal, diplomatic, or official) and are they only a transit passenger or a formal connection passenger..

Point here is that there's a lot of possible combinations out there.. So I'd reasonably guess that the 6-month rule or 'standard' if you will, was born from the notion that the most restrictive countries or the "norm" if you will, was that you needed 6- months..

TIMATIC-- which is a by-subscription-service offered thru IATA and not a organization in itself- shows only what data they are in turn given by recognized authorities from each nation or region (if applicable) and under what travel conditions.. That's the risk to TIMATIC in that it's only as good as the data source from which it's derived..

... but carriers do use it as it is an industry-wide platform, and when used properly, can help a carrier when/if they're fined if they file a protest saying that they followed what was shown as being the requirements.

To me, if the airlines weren't liable for dentition fines and repatriation costs, then this issue would largely go away, as it would all be on the passenger... but under convention language and most all bi- and multilateral aviation agreements the carriers are liable for both dentition fines and repatriation costs

Travel Safe,