Oman Air’s revenue account staff was awarded IATA Diplomas earlier this year in recognition of their hard work on intensive training courses featuring electronic ticketing.
So what exactly is IATA? You will certainly have heard of it, but we guess you’ve sometimes wondered what these initials actually stand for and for that matter what this organization does? Well, IATA is the International Airline Transport Association, which is the main organization for inter-airline cooperation in promoting safe, reliable, secure and economical air services – all for the benefit of you, one of the world’s consumers.
A quick look at its history tells us it was initially formed in 1919. Yes that’s it, just after the First World War of 1914-1918, as the International Airline Traffic Association but then in this very month of April some 67 years ago in Havana, Cuba it was reborn as the IATA which we know today. As you will appreciate, in 1945 the airline industry was around 100 times smaller than it is now.
So where did it go from there – well the first worldwide Traffic Conference was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1947 and amazingly the delegates reached unanimous agreement on nearly 400 resolutions covering all aspects of air travel. Once the technical and legal framework was sorted out, typical details agreed at this pioneering meeting were fare construction rules for multi-sector trips, revenue allocation, baggage allowances, and ticket and air waybill design and agency appointment procedures.
And a point of interest to you the passenger – did you know that today 50 million international air passengers a year pay for their tickets in one place, in one currency, but complete their journey using at least two, and sometimes five or more, airlines from different countries using different currencies?
So to the future?
IATA has a long-term vision for the air transport industry, and it is Vision 2050 which will shape the industry’s future and IATA is therefore working on an ambitious plan based on the following:
- Structuring for profitability
- Sufficient and efficient infrastructure
- Sustainable technology to power the industry
- Capability to meet the needs of the customer of the future
To quote IATA: The industry is essential for the global economy, supporting 32 million jobs across the globe, and over 3.5 trillion US$, in economic activities, and still growing. By 2050 it is estimated that some 16 billion passengers and 400 million tonnes of freight will need to be flown yearly.
We know you’re excited to be going away, but hold on there are things to do: First of all make sure you know the airline’s allowance for hand baggage and checked-in, or hold, baggage. Then find out if there are any limits on size or weight for each. Weigh your bags – some may weigh as much as 3 kgs and that’s a lot knocked off your baggage allowance. Be aware that most airlines charge the passenger for being overweight, not you but your baggage!
Make a list of items you need to take – don’t even consider those ‘just in case’ items (best to leave those at home), but do remember to include your passport, essential medicines and your mobile for flight itinerary etc.. A reminder: liquid or gel substances to be carried in hand baggage should be in individual containers of 3 ounces or less and enclosed in one clear, plastic, zip-top bag.
OK, above noted? Now let’s look at hand baggage first – you’ll need space for travel documents, medicines, a change of clothing and basic toiletries, something to read (or amuse), and (if applicable) baby items such as nappies and food. And don’t forget to leave enough space for anything you plan to buy in Duty Free!
Checked-in baggage – take just what you need and not a month’s supply of items when you’re actually going away for just a week! First of all iron your clothes, if they go in neat they’ll come out almost neat.
But how to pack? There are several techniques, either take two or more garments and lay half of one item on top of the other, then take the other and fold it on the top. Or a favourite of ours is to roll some items for those small spaces – so convenient for shorts or shirts. And shoes, a couple of pairs for daywear and another two for the evening should suffice so save space by stuffing them with items too. Books (not got a kindle yet?) – don’t stack them, but spread them throughout your case.
Gifts for the folks back at home – leave a space, but don’t spend all your time shopping for those who are not on your trip!
Last but not least – leave contact information and travel itinerary with someone at home for use in an emergency and scan your photo and your travel documents and email them to yourself so that they are available to you at any time.
And finally. Enjoy your trip, it will doubtless broaden your horizons in a way other things can’t!