Usually I get my plane tickets directly from airlines. Now for the first time I had to purchase two tickets through a touring company for a repatriation flight. All they have sent me after the purchase (along with the invoice) is the following:

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and they told me I have to do the check in at the airport (I always did online check in). Even though these are pretty looking tickets, they do not have any security code, reference number, etc. So to me this is not a confirmation at all that I have the seats reserved within LATAM airline. I have insisted to this touring company to send me the reservation codes without success up to now.

How do things usually work in these cases? Is it normal that touring companies do not provide you the "reservation number" and you just have to go to the airport confident that they have done a good job? What if they didn't?

This company has good reviews in Google so I am not suspicious about their intention nor their professionalism. However I would be more comfortable having some way to confirm my name in these planes in the website of LATAM. I have already contacted LATAM and they confirmed that everything is right with the second flight. However, they weren't able to give me any confirmation for the first flight and this is having me worried...

  • 8
    These are exceptional circumstances. There is no "how things usually work". If you are getting a repatriation flight home, consider yourself lucky, go to the airport WELL ahead of time, and do what they ask you to do. Commented May 28, 2020 at 23:40
  • 1
    Haven’t done that one a very very long while but group bookings are similar: the airline may not know who the passengers are until quite late in the process (nowadays they still need to know in advance of check-in for all the API stuff, but earlier they didn’t necessarily care). The TO just booked a number of seats (or a whole aircraft) and will give the exact passenger list to the airline at the last possible time. There’s no individual booking or PNR, it’s likely it’s more like “200 passengers” in a single reference, so obviously they’re not going to give you that reference.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 29, 2020 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Repatriation flights are special, and there's nothing normal about them.

LATAM flight 8070, your flight GRU-FRA looks like a normally scheduled flight. I can go to Google Flights and book a seat on it right now (there may be generally applicable regulations about who can fly on it with Germany's travel restrictions, but that's irrelevant to its status as a regular commercial flight). But LATAM flight 9517, from EZE-GRU, is not a regularly scheduled flight and does not appear in public schedules (many airlines use flight numbers 9000 and above for special purpose flights like charters and ferry flights). It doesn't appear to be possible to buy a ticket on this flight through the normal sales channels.

As such, I would not expect the usual processes like confirmation numbers and online checkin to apply. If this is a repatriation flight that has been chartered by a government, control of the passenger list may be managed by the government (or a tour company they've contracted to collect payment and facilitate the process) and not the airline. The process at the airport may be different than usual. In some cases, consular staff are performing functions normally handled by airline employees (see, for instance, these photos of US repatriation flights in South Africa or this video from Nepal—there are a lot of consular staff operating stations that are not part of a typical check-in process) and may have their own lists of who belongs on the flight.

The fact that they have booked your second flight, as confirmed by the airline, is a good sign that this is not some kind of outright scam. Ultimately, there may just not be a confirmation number for your repatriation flight. As Greg Hewgill notes, getting to the airport early and following the instructions you were given is probably your best bet now.

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    You should also show up to check in for your repatriation flight at least several hours ahead of its departure. The people checking you in for these flights are generally not airline staff and you should expect long delays. Commented May 29, 2020 at 14:50
  • Also, systems now have adjusted to a lot of online check-in. That won't be available for a repatriation flight because the officials need to know exactly who is at the airport with their papers checked. Commented May 29, 2020 at 17:54

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