I was trying to book my ticket on-line with PIA when under the special request section I saw the request for a "seaman". What would be your best guess as to what this service entails?

online form

This site really needs more tags :p

  • There are special airfares for seamen going to or from a ship, might it just be that? – Gagravarr Sep 17 '13 at 21:45
  • @Gagravarr airfare was on a previous page. but maybe – Osama Javed Sep 17 '13 at 22:01
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    There can be special fares for seamen. Those aren't bookable online—it would have to be done by a travel agent or airline booking office—, but the "seamen" service request is required as part of booking those fares. It looks like PIA just dumped in a list of Special Service Request (SSR) codes regardless of whether they're entirely useful for website users ("stretcher assistance" is also not something you can just check off online and expect to magically happen, if the airline can handle it at all). – Zach Lipton Nov 8 at 22:45
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    Now I am imagining an Airplane!-style gag... Passenger #1 arrives at the airport and is met by an attendant with a wheelchair to help on his journey, just as he requested. Passenger #2 arrives at the airport and is met by a pair of burly sailors to keep her company, just as she requested... – Nate Eldredge Nov 9 at 0:13
up vote 19 down vote accepted

Airlines crew sometimes need to travel from one airport to another as passengers but at the same time they are on duty (in airlines terminology we call that Deadheading). In this case the airlines need to move crew from one airport to another due to operational reasons (like bringing new aircraft or bringing an aircraft after being grounded for technical reasons for some time). Sometimes the airlines put the crew as deadhead on another airline as well. Same thing goes for seamen too, they need to be relocated from one location to another from time to time to be part of a crew in a ship located in another area.

My guess is the airlines are making the job easier for the seamen because seamen like airline crews use different types of visas unlike normal passengers or even do not have to have visas to many countries. Also, crews and seamen have a special arrangement with immigration authorities so they might mark them in the system in advance so when the information is passed to the destination country using APIS it will include that they are seamen and part of a crew.

Sailors who are travelling for duty travel often travel with a seaman's log book instead of their passport. This means that at check-in, they must often produce valid credentials including the name of their ship and its itinerary. Otherwise they cannot be accepted on board a flight. Most airlines give very privileged treatment to passengers with this SSR, but the code also stands as a warning to check in staff to verify the log book and ship manifest which SEMN are obliged to carry.

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