Travelling international can be sometimes intriguing, especially the first time. Whether you are travelling the first time or are a frequent flyer, you will come across this situation of travelling on a throughfare flight ticket. Here’s what you must know while you are booking yourself a through flight ticket on your international trip.
What is a throughfare flight PNR?
A throughfare flight PNR ticket is issued when you are taking a hop flight via another country to your destination. It saves you the cumbersome time of checking in and checking out several times from the immigration, as also prevent wasting your time on the luggage belt while your next onward flight is already calling you out for a take off.
With a throughfare flight PNR ticket, the airline issues you all the boarding passes from your source airport itself. Thus you do not need to bother until you check out at your destination airport. Your check-in luggage also gets routed by the airline in the transit airport.
The throughfare flight PNR ticket is slightly costlier than taking regular flights with a break. In the latter case though, you will need to pass through the arrival gate and then re-enter the airport from the departure terminal, through the immigration. This is where the real fun begins. If you do not know the rules, you will get held up at the immigration because you do not have a transit visa.
What can go wrong with a ‘through-fare flight PNR Ticket’.
While ‘throughfare flight tickets’ are meant for passenger convenience, it can put you in trouble when you do not know what is happening at the transit airport. With a throughfare flight ticket, when you land at the transit airport, you simply need to move quickly through the transit gates instead of ‘Arrivals’ and head for your next flight. Since you already have the next boarding pass, you can straightaway move and wait at the boarding gate while your flight arrives. This is typical when you have chosen a single plane with a ‘throughfare flight ticket’. For example – all your flights from source to destination is on ‘Air Asia.’
But let’s say, you have different airline to take from the transit airport (Yes, that happens when you fly by code-share flights), then you will not get the boarding pass for your onward journey at the starting airport; rather you will have to collect your second boarding pass from the flight ticket counter at the transit terminal. In case, the second airline does not have a counter at the transit terminal and is located outside the arrival gates, you will be forced to move out of the arrival gate, and move back in through departure gates, forcing you to pass the immigration authorities, who will ask you for a transit Visa, whether you need it or not. If you do not have one, you may be penalized for it, whether you like it or not.
You need a transit Visa in a particular country if you are planning to stay there for 6 hours or more!
How to Avoid this situation
It is physically not possible to find whether or not the airline has a counter at the transit gate. However, you can always avoid your difficulties while you book your tickets online. Here are few things you can keep in mind while you pick your flights to avoid such situations:-
- As far as possible, try to buy a flight ticket from a single airline. This will help you to avoid most of the difficulties at the transit airports.
- When you book a ‘throughfare PNR ticket’, check if you are booking a ‘self-transfer‘ ticket. A self-transfer ticket means that the airline or the online booking company does not take any responsibility of your luggage, boarding or movement through the transit terminal and you are alone responsible for collecting your next boarding pass at the transit airport and move to board the next flight.
- Check if you are booking code-share flights. Code-share means that one airline can book you a flight ticket on one of their partner airlines. This is also possible when you are making an online booking. When this happens, it is difficult to check whether you have a flight counter at the transit airport, as ground staff of one airline is usually not able to give you information about the flight services of the others. As far as possible, avoid going for code-share flights when you are taking a hop.
- It is a great idea to travel on hand-baggage only because in times of such crisis, you at least escape the burden of going to the luggage belt for the ‘extra baggage’.