Airlines extend special privileges and discounts for marine travel tickets which are available to the yachting industry – however only a few travel agencies globally have been authorised to issue these tickets. This may be the reason why there remains a surprising amount of confusion about what special airline tickets are available for yacht crew travel, or for staff and contractors who travel to or from yachts. Unfortunately, as so many travel agencies are not involved in issuing these specially coded tickets, they may sometimes miss-advise legible travellers.
Of the many misconceptions relating to marine fares and legibility for these airline tickets, possibly the top 3 areas of confusion relate to the following:
1. Holders of a marine travel ticket cannot use this as a waiver in meeting the immigration regulations of a country. Even if a traveller is only staying briefly in a country before transferring to a yacht, it is still mandatory to meet the immigration requirements to gain entry. In particular, many countries expect the traveller to have a return ticket or at least an onward ticket to depart from the country to another destination. This is where many people who work on yachts have a problem. The issues may be legitimate – for example, they do not know where the yacht may be travelling and so will not know the itinerary for the onward flight. Or they may not even know the detailed plans for the yacht and in all likelihood will not be returning home from the same country. This however is exactly why marine flight tickets have been designed to be flexible, and so a return or onward flight can be booked in the full expectation that the itinerary may need to be changed – but holding a return or onward flight booking may be critical to meeting the immigration rules.
2. Marine airfares are massively discounted – often by as much as 70% – and what is not understood by many people is that these special discounts and privileges apply not only to Economy Class flights, but can be applied also to Business Class and First Class airline travel. Also the booking of these special travel fares are not only restricted to business offices and management, but can be made directly by individuals.
3. Even crew members who have enjoyed the benefits of marine travel tickets at the start and end of their contracts on a vessel do not realise that these privileges are available to them throughout the period that they are officially employed on the yacht. Therefore it is possible to have a break from the yacht and enjoy a holiday, and some if not all the flights involved may be entitled to the privileges of the marine crew travel ticket!
Marine travel airline tickets have lots of benefits:
– Up to 70% off most published air fares.
– This applies to one-way tickets as well as return or round-trip tickets.
– No minimum or maximum stay.
– Extra weight allowance of 40 kgs (23kgs x 2 bags for US and Canada flights).
– No penalties generally for changes or cancellations.
The few specialist yacht crew travel agencies globally that have been granted the privilege of issuing marine travel tickets take seriously the need to ensure that everyone using marine fares and their associated benefits are qualified to use them. They follow the airlines’ policies closely and are available to advise on any issues of legibility or qualifying itineraries.The general guidelines for legibility are that you are travelling to or from the yacht AND that you are included on the yacht’s manifest. This means that all crew are legible as are contractors or other company personnel who are travelling to or from the yacht on business or some official capacity.