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COPA - any experience with checking Yellow Fever Certificates?

COPA - any experience with checking Yellow Fever Certificates?

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Old Jul 1, 18, 6:24 am
  #1  
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COPA - any experience with checking Yellow Fever Certificates?

I thought I was a genius and booked a much cheaper flight from the US to Bahamas via Panama (24 hour layover). In reality we planned on skipping the second leg (Panama to Bahamas) and instead fly to another destination.

Unfortunately the Bahamas requires a YF card even for transitting Panama, which a couple members of my party don’t have. Does anyone have experience with Copa checking the Yellow Fever card in the US? Or because travel is solely to Panama the first day, would Copa not check the first leg and only do it in Panama the next day (assuming they check at all)? Would web check in be blocked for this destination?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 1, 18, 11:13 am
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Having been in several countries with endemic YF and even more that require a valid proof of vaccination, my experience is that it's not the airlines checking the certificates but immigration or public health officers (if checked at all). Mind you, I have never been to the Bahamas, though, so no idea how they handle the requirements there. Still, I was never, ever asked by an airline to show the vaccination booklet and given OLCI, etc. I doubt that anybody would ask for it at the gate at the time of boarding.

At any rate, the chances of getting YF at the Panama City airport are close to zero, the chances of dealing with a narrow-minded inspector in Nassau are higher, I would suggest that your friends get vaccinated...

Last edited by KLouis; Jul 2, 18 at 12:31 am
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Old Jul 1, 18, 9:48 pm
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The first flight is to Panama. They won't ask for anything. They certainly don't for the dozens of flights I have flown via PTY to non PTY destinations on Copa.
And the point of the ticketing scheme is to not fly to Bahamas anyway who are the ones that may check.
Reminder if the itinerary is US-PTY-NAS-PTY-US the ticket will be voided after the first PTY arrival for failure to not fly to NAS. So don't plan to fly back to the US from PTY on the original ticket after the no-show.
Also they may be unwilling to check bags only to PTY, though the 24 hour layover might encourage them to, but if the itinerary is an actual connection in Panama albeit a rather long one, rather than a stopover, the gate agent in the US might make a point of checking the bags all the way to Nassau.
This must have been a great deal for all this hullaballoo.
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Old Jul 2, 18, 8:34 am
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I think a one way was $88 and round trip was $240 or so (presuming that OP is flying from MIA)
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Old Jul 2, 18, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
The first flight is to Panama. They won't ask for anything. They certainly don't for the dozens of flights I have flown via PTY to non PTY destinations on Copa.
I had COPA at Rio check my YF certificate flying them to Colombia via PTY. So your mileage may vary...
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Old Jul 2, 18, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by RustingInSeattle View Post
I thought I was a genius and booked a much cheaper flight from the US to Bahamas via Panama (24 hour layover). In reality we planned on skipping the second leg (Panama to Bahamas) and instead fly to another destination.

Unfortunately the Bahamas requires a YF card even for transitting Panama, which a couple members of my party don’t have. Does anyone have experience with Copa checking the Yellow Fever card in the US? Or because travel is solely to Panama the first day, would Copa not check the first leg and only do it in Panama the next day (assuming they check at all)? Would web check in be blocked for this destination?

Thanks!
As others have pointed out, it is NOT Copas responsibility to check YF certificates. It is down to immigration or public health officers at your destination, and I have quite a horror story from Kingston back in June 2016, where myself and several other passengers (including people only transitting in PTY) were held back for hours. It was very sketchy and somewhat evident that the officers were trying to financially benefit from the situation. I believe a few individuals actually paid their way through the YF check. When I returned back to PTY a few days later, a lot of passengers on the flight had been denied entry to Jamaica and had to go back to Panama.

I did have a certificate but did not carry it with me on that occasion. Nowadays I just bring it along, you never know what can happen.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 12:01 am
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In my experience, Copa is a stickler for anything that could cause Copa to have to fly a person back out of a destination because documentation was insufficient — e.g., proof of onward travel, etc.

As someone else mentioned above, Copa also generally checks bags through on long layovers, even overnights, so the OP could be in for not one but two nasty problems at the airport.
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Old Jul 6, 18, 2:00 pm
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FYI, I have been asked by Copa and denied entry/ticket at check in due to not having YF certificate even though I had a visa for my required destination (however my point of origin was not US, although I'm not sure if that matters)
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Old Jul 30, 18, 1:52 am
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I was most grateful to Copa counter personnel at SJO who warned me if I flew to Perú from Costa Rica that I didn't need the yellow fever certificate, but without one I could not board to come home to Costa Rica (yes copa, counter staff in Lima did ask!)
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Old Jul 30, 18, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by PaoCM View Post
I was most grateful to Copa counter personnel at SJO who warned me if I flew to Perú from Costa Rica that I didn't need the yellow fever certificate, but without one I could not board to come home to Costa Rica (yes copa, counter staff in Lima did ask!)
YMMV, I fly this route three times a month and have never been asked for YF certificate either at SJO/PTY/LIM, although I do carry one. AV from SAL is the same, never been asked.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 10:27 am
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Why not just get a yellow fever vaccination?
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