How to Get an IATA Number

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An IATA number also gives the agency access to special airline deals.
An IATA number also gives the agency access to special airline deals. (Image: Visivasnc/iStock/Getty Images)

Before a travel agency can legally sell airline tickets to clients, it must first earn accreditation with the International Air Transport Association and obtain an IATA number. Accreditation through the IATA not only allows the agency to sell airline tickets, but also allows it to use the IATA’s billing and settlement system to easily bill clients. The owner of the agency can submit applications for each of his employees to get their own IATA numbers and receive the same benefits.

Meet the Requirements

Travel agencies that want to obtain an IATA number must meet certain requirements. These include providing proof that they operate a legal business and submitting sales and financial documents that show the agency is in good financial standing. In most cases, an agency must also show proof of errors and omission insurance. An exception to the errors and omission insurance clause includes the owner of the agency working for longer than five years and holding one of four travel certifications: Certified Travel Associate, Certified Meeting Professional, Certification in Meeting Management or Special Events Professional.

Submit an Application

Obtaining an IATA number also requires turning in an application and paying an accreditation fee. As of 2014, the fees for accreditation are $195 for a head office or branch of a travel agency and $390 for a corporate travel agency with multiple branches or offices. The cost is the same for an unlimited number of employees. The application asks for basic information on the travel agency, such as its location, the date the business started and whether the business is based online or in a bricks and mortar store. It also asks for a business profile that asks for niche markets, destination specialties and types of travel business the agency is involved in, such as retail travel sales, travel event planning or tour operations. The form for individual employees asks for biographical information like name, address and date of birth, as well as the employee's position with the company, duties, weekly hours and yearly earnings.

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