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Everything your organisation needs to know about marine fares

The most frequently asked questions about marine fares, with answers provided by ATPI's experts
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Marine fares are used by many marine organisations around the world to allow them to reduce the cost of crew travel, while also remaining flexible in regard to last-minute itinerary changes and travel disruptions.

However, the exclusivity can cause multiple misunderstandings about the benefits, cost and availability of sector-specialised rates.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about marine fares, with answers provided by Takis Linardopoulos, Director of Operations at ATPI Greece:

What are marine fares?

Marine fares are discounted, one-way airfares that are offered exclusively to those working on or for a vessel, be it a commercial/merchant vessel, a cruise vessel or a yacht etc.

What are the benefits?

Traditionally they are much more flexible than many other standard airfares and allow for the unpredictable nature of the marine sector. Booking a marine fare means that there are usually no fees applied to tickets that need to be amended in the event of a vessel itinerary change (delay, change of port etc.) and that a full refund can be issued if a trip is cancelled any time before departure.

Marine fares also allow for the extra baggage required by seafarers who are away from home for long periods – typically 40kg or 2 pieces of 23kg of baggage is included in a marine fare ticket.

Who is eligible?

Generally speaking, anyone who has to board a vessel for work purposes can use a marine fare provided they also carry the necessary documentation at check-in and immigration.

Eligible travellers include:

  • Persons who are joining for or leaving active seagoing duty or work on board a merchant vessel/cruise vessel and are added to the ship’s manifest
  • Engineers, contractors, surveyors, superintendents, inspectors etc, who are traveling to carry out work on a vessel whether in dock or at sea
  • Cruise ship crew, including on-board entertainers and medical staff
  • Yacht delivery and superyacht crew

How can I book?

Marine fares are not widely available in standard booking platforms and are only available to specialist travel management companies (TMCs) and booking agents who operate within the marine sector. This means that they can only be booked via your specialist travel management provider and their technology.

Can I book marine fares online?

Traditionally, marine tickets have been booked offline by contacting your travel management provider, as booking marine tickets requires a broader range of skills, such as combining airlines, and knowledge of transit airport requirements.

Marine travel usually involves booking multi-sector long-haul journeys to/from non-mainstream locations and splitting tickets to decrease cost or even confirm seats. This is often required to be performed under tight booking timelines therefore a real and marine-experienced 24/7 service is essential.

Why were marine fares created?

The concept of marine fares originated as a result of airlines identifying the need for specialist fares for crews to meet their specific needs. The use was pioneered by British Airways, Air France, KLM and even ATPI’s predecessors in the 1970s. It was at this time that an increasing number of airlines began to understand the importance of the marine sector and found themselves adding a wider range of marine seats to their schedules year after year.

Which airlines can I use when booking?

Marine fares are offered by all global and local commercial airlines (excluding low-cost carriers). Some even offer them for domestic flights. At ATPI we have access to the marine fares of all airlines globally due to our worldwide network of offices.

Click here to find out more about exclusive marine fares

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