Dodgy Travel Data can Cost you Thousands, & your Holiday!

Dodgy travel data could be costing passengers thousands, in time and money.

This past weekend, disturbing accounts of passengers’ experiences at Dublin International Airport made the headlines in Irish Newspapers.

Irate passengers quoted “long queues”, “delays” and “laborious forms to fill in” as reasons for the delays. Some passengers had to pay over €100 to reschedule flights and a “a lot of understandably anxious people” have taken to social media to voice their frustrations.

The truth is, all you have to do is visit 3 government websites, 1 airline website, call your travel agent, get a test, pay for fast results, review the vaccine validity windows, get the approved masks, find the passenger locator forms, fill out the passenger locator forms and do that all again when you get back, except from a different country. Not so simple.

Flight arrival board at an airport
Confusing travel data is causing chaos for travellers and the industry

A recurring theme

This isn’t the first bad airport experience story in the last 18 months. From Birmingham to Dubai, thousands have been turned away from check-in desks. Many more have paid for tests that weren’t valid and an unknown number have had to pay for quarantines and tests they never needed. Some have had multiple vaccines, not knowing that their current schedule wouldn’t be accepted in their destination. Airports have the thankless task of enforcing document compliance on behalf of airlines and it is starting to hurt their customers.

Our network in the airports business has told us that many passengers arrive with missing or incomplete documents like passenger locator forms. Sometimes, their tests are too old to fly or they’ve taken the wrong test completely. Some have thought their children didn’t need a test when they did, and some passengers have had children tested who never needed to be tested in the first place. In some cases, airport staff have given the wrong information to passengers, which has taken hours to resolve, causing queue buildups and further frustrations.

In many cases the root cause is that passengers simply don’t have a single point of reference for their travel requirements. Government websites aren’t always reliable and restrictions come and go faster than a toupee in a hurricane. Accurate and up-to-date travel data, that anticipates both the passenger’s and the government’s requirements is the key to solving this problem.

Take a deep breath

At SafeScore, we have built a simple, customer-facing widget for airlines and airports to add to their apps and websites. Everything from child testing ages to quarantine requirements, and vaccine validity is clearly, and easily available. We’ve even provided the passenger locator forms too. We’ve purpose-built the tool, allowing you to show exactly what a passenger needs before travelling and what they will need on return.

Informed passengers move through airports faster, get to the lounge quicker and help raise net promoter scores. Passengers need airport and airline support, now more than ever. Airlines and airports need satisfied and happy customers now more than ever. SafeScore can provide this support, with just 3 clicks.

Contact us to find out how.

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Confusing Restrictions, Pricey Quarantine – how SafeScore saved me €2000

It’s no secret that travel is unnecessarily complicated right now. What does seem to be a secret, however, is reliable and accurate data on restrictions, as I recently learned on a trip from Noumea (New Caledonia) to Dublin (Ireland). Thanks to SafeScore, confusing restrictions and expensive quarantine costs didn’t get the better of me.

Rule Number One: Be Prepared

Man watches plane take off from airport window as the sun sets
Confusing restrictions can be a thing of the past

My route takes 37 hours to travel, with stops in Tokyo and Paris and relies on 2 airlines. Current restrictions mean the flight is only available once per week, meaning any slip-up on documents along the way could mean another week away from home. Being prepared is key, and armed with my negative PCR test I knew I was ready to go. 

The first issue I faced on this route was checking in at Noumea Airport. The staff advised me that without a vaccine, I would need proof of a hotel booking in Dublin for the 14 days’ quarantine. This advice didn’t match what I read in SafeScore only 2 days earlier. I challenged this assumption and even asked the check-in staff which platform they were using to advise their passengers and was shocked to be told it was IATA Timatic.

I quickly opened my SafeScore account on my laptop, clicked ‘Ireland’ and was redirected to the citizens info page which clearly showed that no vaccine is required, but a negative PCR test and home quarantine is sufficient.

I showed them the site, and the wording. They called their manager. We’re now 20 minutes at the desk, and I’ve got my credit card ready in case I’m wrong. The manager arrived and she reviewed the data. She reviewed their platform and with a couple more phone calls she typed something into their computer and gave me the ‘nod’. I was clear to go. SafeScore – 1 confusing restrictions – 0.

I arrived in the lounge and breathed a deep sigh of relief and drank a deep sip of champagne. But I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Confusing Restrictions are an International Problem

Sunset view out of a plane window
SafeScore makes the sun set on confusing restrictions

8 hours and a deep sleep later I arrived fresh in the land of the 2020 Olympics.

I knew from SafeScore that Tokyo airport was allowing transfers (great!) for certain routes and that a negative PCR was required (check!). I also knew transfers may take longer than expected due to the upcoming Olympic games and resigned myself to long queues and delays.

The airport was empty, the queues were short and disembarking was easy. Getting from immigration to the transfer area, not so much.

After transfer security, all the passengers from our flight were greeted by Airport staff holding whiteboards with 3 names on them. Mine was one of them. Here we go again!

I presented myself to the team and they asked me to show proof of a hotel booking for quarantine in Dublin, proof of negative PCR results and my passport. I explained, as I did in Noumea, that unvaccinated travellers do not need hotel quarantine when arriving from non-designated countries, but was met with blank stares, clearly confusing restrictions are international. Again, I got the credit card ready and the laptop.

My case was escalated to the duty manager, and I was asked to wait until called to the desk. Luckily my transfer time was 4 hours, because I spent 45 minutes at the transfer desk, with my laptop and SafeScore challenging the restrictions.

I shared the URLs, screenshots and even showed them SafeScore. Eventually I was allowed to board (credit card still holstered) and breathed another deep sigh of relief and took another deep sip of champagne as we took off.

Paris Charles de Gaulle was throbbing and I was thrilled to see so many people travelling, transferring and shopping in the duty free areas again. This would be my 12th international flight during the pandemic and for the first time things started to look promising again. 6 hours in a lounge, and a 1 hour hop to Dublin later, I touched down and was met with Ireland’s friendly and welcoming immigration team.

“Do you have a negative PCR test?” She asked?
“Yes”, I said.

“Welcome home”.

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