What Is The Difference Between Regular IATA Number And IATA TIDS?

What Is The Difference Between Regular IATA Number And IATA TIDS

If you’re involved in the travel industry, you may have come across terms like “IATA number” and “IATA TIDS.” But what exactly do these terms mean and what is the difference between regular IATA Number and IATA TIDS?

This article explains the differences between the two options for better understanding if the travelers

What Is The Difference Between Regular IATA Number And IATA TIDS?

A regular IATA number is for accredited travel agents, enabling them to book and issue airline tickets. In contrast, an IATA TIDS number is for non-accredited agents, granting limited access to IATA’s global distribution system for basic airline bookings. Thus, their purposes distinguish them.

An IATA number, also known as an IATA Travel Agent Number, is a unique identifier issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to travel agents. It is used to identify travel agents when they book and issue airline tickets.

To obtain an IATA number, a travel agent must first be accredited by IATA. This involves meeting certain requirements, such as having a business license and being trained in IATA procedures. 

Once a travel agent is accredited, they can apply for an IATA number.

An IATA number is required for travel agents to book and issue airline tickets on behalf of their clients. It is also used to access IATA’s global distribution system (GDS), which is a database of airline fares and schedules.

A regular IATA number is different from an IATA TIDS number in that a regular IATA number is for accredited travel agents, while an IATA TIDS number is for non-accredited agents. 

A regular IATA number allows travel agents to book and issue airline tickets, while an IATA TIDS number only allows travel agents to access IATA’s GDS for basic airline bookings.

Here’s a table outlining the main differences between a regular IATA number and an IATA TIDS number:

Aspect Regular IATA Number IATA TIDS Number
Eligibility Typically granted to established travel agencies, tour operators, and industry professionals. Geared towards smaller businesses, independent consultants, or those not seeking full IATA accreditation.
Industry Involvement Full engagement within the travel industry, offering comprehensive services and access to global distribution systems (GDS). Provides a platform for limited industry involvement, granting access to IATA services without full accreditation requirements.
Services Offered Wide array of travel-related services, including flight reservations, ticketing, and full agency operations. Limited services, often focused on simplified reservations and transactions.
Global Network Access Extensive industry partnerships, networking opportunities, and collaborations. Access to industry networks, but with a more streamlined scope.
Credibility and Recognition High industry credibility and recognition, adhering to stringent IATA standards. Offers recognition within a narrower segment, emphasizing efficiency and accessibility.
Application Process Typically involves a comprehensive application process, including financial checks and business assessments. Generally a simplified application process, tailored for smaller entities.
Financial Commitment May involve higher financial obligations due to the comprehensive services provided. May have lower financial obligations, making it more accessible for smaller businesses.
Industry Compliance Must adhere to extensive IATA rules, regulations, and standards. Still expected to follow IATA guidelines, but with a narrower scope.
Growth and Expansion Provides opportunities for business growth, expansion, and access to various travel industry segments. Focused on providing basic industry access, allowing growth potential without full-scale agency operations.

What Is TIDS?

What Is TIDS?
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The TIDS Numeric Code is a unique, seven-digit code issued by the IATA to all travel agents and sales intermediaries in the air transport industry. The code is a key component of the IATA Travel Industry Identification Program, which serves as an international identification system for travel agents and intermediaries. 

It provides them with recognition within the industry, making it easier for them to participate in various travel-related activities.

With the IATA/TIDS Numeric Code, travel agents have access to exclusive services and discounts that are available only to those with an official IATA status. 

They can also take advantage of the dedicated IATA support team, which is available 24/7 to help with any questions or issues regarding their membership.

Why Should You Apply For TIDS?

You should apply for TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service) if you want to avail the numerous benefits and opportunities for businesses in the travel industry. TIDS is a unique identifier that allows travel agents, tour operators, and other travel-related businesses to be recognized globally. 

By having a TIDS number, your business gains credibility and legitimacy, making it easier to establish partnerships and collaborations with other industry players. 

Additionally, TIDS provides access to a wide range of industry resources, such as networking events, training programs, and market research, which can help you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the travel industry. 

Overall, applying for TIDS can greatly enhance your business’s visibility, reputation, and growth potential in the competitive travel market.

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For TIDS?

The TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service) application process is now completely free of charge. There’s no longer any need to pay an application or annual renewal fee. This means that individuals and businesses can confidently apply for TIDS without any financial obligation.

The revised policy ensures that a greater number of individuals can now avail the benefits of the TIDS program. 

This program is tailored to offer a distinctive identification number to travel agents and other professionals in the industry, and the new policy aims to make it accessible to a wider audience.

If There Are No TIDS Annual Fees, How Do You Renew Your TIDS Participation?

In general, the Annual Revalidation will be an automated process that requires TIDS Agents to log into the TIDS portal and fill out a required form. Upon completion of the form, the TIDS Agent’s participation will be valid for another year. 

In order to complete the revalidation process on time, IATA has strongly encouraged all TIDS Agents to keep track of their upcoming annual revalidation deadlines.

Similarly, failure to complete the required Annual Revalidation form will result in the Termination of the TIDS Agent’s participation. 

IATA and all Industry Suppliers will be notified of this termination and all necessary steps will be taken by them to discontinue the TIDS Agent’s services.

How To Apply For IATA TIDS?

How To Apply For IATA TIDS?
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To apply for IATA TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service), you need to visit the IATA website and fill out the application form. You will need to provide relevant information about your travel business, such as company details, ownership information, and proof of financial stability. 

Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by IATA, and if approved, you will receive your TIDS number and access to the IATA TIDS system.

Here, is a step-by-step guide to applying for IATA TIDS:

Check Eligibility and Application Requirements

The first step to becoming an IATA-certified travel agent is to check the eligibility requirements. 

To be eligible, you must satisfy certain criteria including having a valid business license, being an accredited travel agency, and having access to a global distribution system (GDS).

You can find more details about the eligibility criteria on the IATA website.

Visit The IATA Website

Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply for TIDS, the next step is to visit the IATA website and review the application guidelines. 

This will ensure that you understand all of the requirements that must be met before submitting your application. 

The guidelines outline important information such as what documents are needed, how to submit your application, and any additional fees associated with the application process.

Complete The Application Form

After you have reviewed the guidelines, you can then proceed to complete the online application form. The form requires you to provide basic information about your agency such as name, address, contact details, and financial information. 

You will also be asked to provide proof of your business license and GDS access.

Gather Supporting Documents

Once you have completed the application form, you will need to gather all of the required supporting documents. 

These documents will help verify that your agency is eligible for TIDS certification and should include a copy of your business license, GDS access information, and any additional information that may be required.

We’ll discuss the documents required and the supporting documents in detail in further sections of this article.

Submit Application And Documentation

Once all of the necessary documents have been gathered, the next step is to submit your application and documents to IATA. You can submit documents electronically with the online application.

Verification And Processing

After your application has been submitted, IATA will begin the verification process. This includes verifying all of the information provided and also checking the supporting documents. 

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a TIDS number that must be used when booking flights through IATA.

Receive TIDS Number 

After your application has been processed and approved, you will receive an official TIDS number that is unique to your agency. This number is valid for three years and can be used to access exclusive travel benefits when booking flights through IATA.

Renew Your TIDS Annually

Remember to renew your TIDS membership annually to ensure its validity. Follow the renewal process provided by IATA to maintain your TIDS status.

What Documents Do You Need To Provide To Apply For TIDS?

First and foremost, it is important to note that the application process for a TIDS varies depending on your country of residence. As such, you should consult with your local travel industry governing body for more specific requirements for your jurisdiction

Generally speaking, however, most applicants are required to provide certain documents in order to apply. These documents include:

  • Documentation supporting the legal form of business and ownership of the business entity
  • A copy of the business registration including tax registration/other business registration number
  • A bank letter or statement of account in the name of the business
  • One (1) letter of recommendation from an IATA Airline member, GDS (i.e. Amadeus, Sabre, Worldspan…) or major travel industry suppliers (i.e. hotels, car rentals…)
  • Government-issued license for sales of travel-related services (where applicable). For example: 
    • Applicants in Canada, located in QC, ON, and BC, must provide a copy of the provincial tourism license. 
    • Applicants in Turkey are required to submit a copy of their license, which has been issued by the Ministry of Tourism & Culture in Turkey.

In addition to these documents, you will also need to submit a signed copy of the TIDS Terms and Conditions. This document outlines the rules and regulations for using the TIDS code as well as the fees associated with it. It is important that all applicants read and understand this document before applying.

What Does IATA Certification Offer To Travel Businesses?

What Does IATA Certification Offer To Travel Businesses?
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Getting IATA certification can improve a business’s credibility and trust with customers. It shows adherence to industry standards and offers access to exclusive resources and collaboration opportunities with other IATA members.

Certification also allows for efficient ticket issuing and booking handling, increasing profitability.

Here, are the detailed benefits that TIDS can provide:

Access to Global Distribution Systems (GDS) 

Gaining IATA certification provides travel businesses with access to a variety of global distribution systems (GDS).

These networks allow travel companies to connect with customers and vendors, as well as access a wealth of information about airline prices, availability, and schedules. 

This access is essential for any business looking to stay competitive in the industry.

Industry Credibility

IATA certification provides travel companies with increased credibility in the industry. Having the IATA logo on promotional materials or websites signals to customers and other businesses that the travel company is a legitimate and reliable partner. 

This can lead to improved customer service, increased trust, and even more business opportunities.

Global Partnerships

By becoming IATA-certified, travel companies open up new opportunities for forming partnerships with other IATA-certified businesses. 

This opens the door to increased collaboration and cost savings, making it easier to stay competitive in the industry.

Consumer Trust

Gaining IATA certification can also increase consumer trust in the travel business. Customers will know that they are dealing with a reliable business, which will make them more likely to choose that company over others.

Global Reach 

With IATA certification, travel businesses can expand their reach globally. 

This gives them access to a larger customer and vendor base, allowing them to tap into new markets and increase their profits.

Competitive Edge

Becoming IATA certified also gives travel companies an edge over the competition. 

By having access to GDS networks and global partnerships, they are able to stay ahead of the trends and provide their customers with the best possible service.


How Long Does It Take To Get Approved Under The TIDS Program?

The approval process under the TIDS program typically takes between 3 to 5 business days. Once you have completed the online application form and submitted all the necessary supporting documents, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will review and process your application

If Your Company/Agency Is Based In The USA. Can You Apply For TIDS?

If your company or agency is based in the USA, you cannot apply for TIDS (Travel Industry Designator Service). TIDS is not available in the USA. However, there is a similar program called the “Non-Ticketing Program” that is offered by IATA’s US Division, known as IATAN. 

This program provides accreditation for travel agencies and other travel industry businesses. 

If you are interested in obtaining accreditation for your company or agency in the USA, you can find more information on the IATAN website.

If Your Company’s Details Such As Name, Address, Ownership, And Contacts Change, What Steps Should You Take?

If your company’s details such as name, address, ownership, and contacts change, it is important to inform IATA by completing the change form online. This can be done by logging in to the IATA Customer Portal and clicking on the TIDS icon under “Services“.

Can You Send The Supporting Documents By Mail For A TIDS Application?

No, you cannot send the supporting documents by mail for a TIDS application. The TIDS is an online platform that allows travel agents to access and book travel products from various suppliers. The usual procedure for a TIDS application involves submitting the necessary documents online through the application portal.

Submit all required documents online to speed up the application process for both the applicant and the TIDS administrator.


When it comes to navigating the complex world of travel, understanding the difference between a regular IATA number and an IATA TIDS designation is crucial. 

While both provide access to IATA services, they cater to different types of agencies. A regular IATA number is a symbol of an established agency with comprehensive industry integration, credibility, and partnerships. 

In contrast, an IATA TIDS number serves smaller entities, offering access, efficiency, and a foothold in the travel network without requiring full accreditation. 

These distinctions highlight IATA’s adaptability, which promotes growth and provides opportunities for diverse players in the constantly evolving travel industry.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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