New personal information system on flights to Spain

Next month British travellers flying to Spain will be required to give specific personal information before boarding their flight, according to a new US-style entry procedures applied by the Spanish airport authorities which will come into force on 13th June.

The new rule, issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior will apply only to countries that are not signed up to the Schengen treaty, an agreement which allows free travel, without presentation of a passport, between EU member states that signed the treaty. Britain is not a Schengen member.

The system about to be enforced by the Spanish government is known as API (Advance Passenger Information) and, according to the new regulations, passengers who do not submit the required information (including full given names, surnames, nationality, date of birth and number of travel document – passport or ID) risk being barred from flights. Travellers to Spain will be required to give the information either to the travel agency or, if they have booked online, at the check-in desk.

If the airlines fail to provide the Spanish authorities with the API information of passengers on board, they face fines of up to 60,000 euros.

Some airlines fear delays because of the fact that the check-in on flights to Spain will now take longer, although some airlines are expected to create mechanisms to enable them to get the information prior to check in to avoid delays.

Easyjet has already announced this on its website, although it is still not clear exactly what the procedure will be: “As a web based company easyJet will collect this information in advance online and will shortly announce details of what passengers need to do, by emailing affected customers with details of the new procedure. Information will also be available on our website. EasyJet is aware of the change in requirements and is working with the Spanish authorities to achieve compliance as soon as possible”.

British Airways has already adapted its online booking system, enabling passengers to enter their API information via the Manage my Booking facility. Passengers making an online booking with BA will be prompted to supply the information at the time of booking or prior to arrival at the airport. The airline also intends to set up a self-service kiosk at airports where passengers will also be able to enter the necessary information.