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I tried booking a flight online and encountered some problems after entering all my information so I contacted a customer service agent online. She was in the process of making the booking for me, however, she required information which was not part of the initial online booking form, such as my passport date of issue, expiry and nationality. Are these details typically required in booking an international flight?

I am used to only providing my full name, date of birth and passport number.

  • Yes, those sound normal. – Michael Hampton Apr 13 '15 at 23:20
  • For example, those are part of the APIS data which airlines are required to collect from all passengers bound for the US. – Nate Eldredge Apr 14 '15 at 0:33
  • Note that those details are not actually verified by the airline, as long as your documents allow you to enter your destination: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/79636/… - which means you should be free to fill in whatever you want. – JonathanReez Jan 26 '17 at 19:26
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Yes, this can be require depending on the type and destination. For example, some countries insist that you have six months left before expiry date, and also, visa requirements are different for different nationalities.

As a result, she may be being extra diligent, and preventing you from encountering a problem when you check in for your flight and they stop you from flying.

Eg: I've been able to travel from Australia to New Zealand on my NZ passport with fewer than six months left, but would not be able to go to the US.

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All airlines will check that you have a valid passport and documentation before they board you. And most do record this information in your booking, even if they aren't required to submit it via APIS and such.

However there are no universal rules as to when they gather this info, other than the rule that they are required to check it BEFORE boarding you. Some airlines will ask for passport number at booking, some ask for full passport details at booking, some just wait until you check in.

Often with online bookings, the airlines gather the absolute minimum amount of details they need to sell you a ticket. The more info you have to type in, the more likely you are to abandon the booking process.

But when people call in to book, they are more willing to provide more details when speaking with a human. So your phone agent was able to ask you for more details up front and fill in more blanks in your booking record.

  • My most recent experience with APIS was travelling to NZ on Qantas - they don't ask APIS data up front in the booking, but they allow you to enter it via Manage My Booking immediately afterwards. I do wonder what the advantage of doing this is when they don't need to supply the data until immediately before boarding, and they can capture the data completely from the passport MRZ at checkin, so it shouldn't even need to be manually entered by a checkin agent. – ajd Apr 14 '15 at 4:20
  • @ajd if your passport details are already in your booking, that is one less thing the check in agent has to deal with. I preload my PP details and often a check in simply show them the passport, no need to scan it or re-enter details. – user13044 Apr 14 '15 at 4:41
  • Hmm, I suppose I tend to just get my passport scanned so they can pull up my booking and I don't have to bring out my itinerary. I guess this will also become less of an issue as international self check-in becomes increasingly available - the self check-in machines always ask to read the MRZ no matter what. – ajd Apr 14 '15 at 4:49

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