You may have seen the name IATA before, either on your airline ticket or in the window of your local travel agency. It stands for the International Air Transport Association, which regulates airlines around the world and supports the development of global standards.
IATA Travel Center is a global destination database based on data from the wholly owned Timatic system
When you check in for your international flight, Timatic is the system that ensures that your travel documents meet government entry requirements for your destination and allows you to board the plane.
In 2019, more than 700 million checks were made to help travelers everywhere get where they want to go.
The information is based on the country of departure, destination, intended travel dates and most importantly, how the restrictions relate to the passport you will be traveling with.
Even if you are staying elsewhere, passport holders from certain countries may have more restrictions on them, even if you don’t normally reside there.
Timatic data is used in the IATA Travel Pass, a fairly simple app that lets you check entry requirements for your destination, locate a nearby lab if you need a negative test result before you travel, and upload your vaccination certificates.
Over 200 rule changes are processed and checked every day. Updates are made manually after being checked and validated by more than 2,000 government and airline sources.
Another major resource is Sherpa – a privately owned Canadian group founded in 2015 that has built a more interactive and easy-to-use platform to provide the information travelers need to ensure their travels run smoothly.
The company says it aims to simplify travel identification and help travel service providers get their customers to their destinations as efficiently as possible in the current travel environment.
Sherpa uses worldwide connectivity that it authorizes to airlines and online travel booking sites such as Expedia that allow users of these sites to familiarize themselves with entry requirements and travel rules before making reservations.
Users can customize the information based on the country of the passport and individual vaccination status. Sherpa’s website It also provides direct links or access to download official documents obtained from government websites if you need more information or proof from an official source.
There is an easy-to-use FAQ section and links to government websites where travel intentions can be registered, and information provided to expedite the border clearance process if needed.
The company lists many of the world’s largest airlines and travel retailers as its data-connected partners including American Airlines, British Airways, Star Alliance and Expedia.
Although it does not have easy access to the IATA Travel Center, it is still a very powerful portal, connected to more than 60 government systems to ensure changes are quickly and accurately transmitted to users.
Sherpa also aims to avoid industry jargon to ensure it speaks to travelers in a language they can understand.
Know before you go
While a quick Google search will yield you tens of thousands, possibly millions, or websites and pages that claim to contain the most accurate information, using IATA Travel Center or Sherpa will provide only one reliable result.
The wiser search will help you weed out the scammers and ensure that your journey goes unhindered.