This is a very strange situation (for me at least). My father has a return flight from A to B (both outside the Schengen area) with connection in Rome (Fiumicino). The flight from Rome to B is handled by a different airline but everything is a single reservation.

At the check-in desk in A he is informed that he needs the yellow fever vaccine certification in order to enter B. Since he doesn't have it, the airline allows him to travel to Rome only (he has all the required documents to enter the Schengen area). In Rome he will have to pick up his luggage and try to check-in with the other airline to see if they will accept him. It's worth noting that I know several people that have done the exact same route in the past few months (and I have also been in B myself several times) without problems, so unless this regulation is extremely new I'm sure he will be allowed entry in B.

Now I have many questions:

  1. Are you actually able to check-in during a connection? Remember it's all a single reservation.

  2. If the airline won't check him in, can he change the flight during the connection to a neighboring country of B?

  3. If the airline won't check him in and the change is not possible, will he be able to use the return flights?

I guess I will have answers to all this very soon, but I wanted to see if anyone has experienced something like this. It is certainly the first time I come across this.


  • It would help to know where B is, as we can lookup their rules for yellow fever vaccination too. – Zach Lipton Jun 1 '18 at 5:38
  • I looked it up. It seems to be correct, but apparently in practice this requirement is weakly enforced, that's why I never came across it. My guess is that this requirement is enforced sometimes when flying from A directly, but will probably be ignored if travelling from Rome or any other place like a neighboring country of B. – Paul Jun 1 '18 at 5:48
  • 1
    Health should be the priority. Not enforced do no mean not safe. Such rules are not just for your father health (or the person who need the yellow fever passport), but for all people.Please keep international travel safe, before some politician will implement draconian solution, and it use such non-compliance as excuse. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 1 '18 at 12:51
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi I'm not trying to debate whether the regulation makes sense or not, or how to bypass it or anything of the sort. I'm only sharing the experience and asking a few questions that arose. – Paul Jun 1 '18 at 13:54
  • @Paul It seems like the question is fundamentally about whether the airline of the second leg at Flumicino enforces the yellow fever restrictions of country B, the rest is just about picking up the pieces if they do. – Peter M Jun 1 '18 at 14:43

This is an unusual (and irritating) situation. To answer your questions:

  1. Yes, if there is sufficient time and he is able to pass immigration in Rome. Since he has checked luggage and the first airline is only willing to check his bags as far as Rome, he'll need to go through immigration, baggage claim, and customs, take the bags to the check-in counter for the second airline, and check-in before the airline's deadline. (This would be much easier if he didn't have checked bags.) That can all take a while, especially if there are lines at immigration or his first flight is delayed. He'll also need the required documents to enter Italy, which you say he does. With checked bags, this is not practical unless his connection is at least a couple hours.

  2. This is where it gets more complicated. I don't know the airlines involved, but most all have language in their contracts of carriage that say that compliance with documentation requirements, including health forms, is the passenger's responsibility. The exact details will depend on the specific conditions attached to his ticket, but the airline could well argue that, since this is his fault, he has to pay the applicable change fee plus the difference in fare, which could be substantial. The airline would also have to have a flight with space available to a neighboring country. It's always possible someone could take mercy on him and make an exception, but there's no assurance that would happen.

    Of course, if he stays in A or Rome to get the vaccination, he'll be responsible for the fees to change his ticket as well unless the airline staff waives them.

  3. Airline tickets must generally be used in order. If you miss one flight without changing them, all the rest of the segments on the itinerary are cancelled. Assuming the tickets are changeable (most are), he could pay the change fee and difference in fare to change his ticket to come home. It's hard to predict what this will cost (possibly just the change fee), as the airline will reprice the ticket based on the new itinerary. If this is a possibility, you can contact the airline and ask them to work out what it would cost; purchasing a new ticket home from the cheapest available airline can sometimes make more sense depending on the details.

Airlines generally use the same database, Timatic, to determine whether vaccination certificates are required, so there's a decent chance the check-in staff in Rome will see the same requirements the staff saw in A. Whether or not they enforce it, or the advisability of attempting to evade public health regulations, I cannot say.

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