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Silly Travell Restrictions  
User currently offlineCV747 From Iceland, joined Jan 2000, 170 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2504 times:

Last summer I went on Holls to the USA. I flew with Swiss ZRH-BOS and we drove down the coast and ended the tour in Baltimore, where we took AA on a code share flight back to BOS for our returning flight.
I am Icelandic national and my wife is Luxembourg and we live in Switzerland.
We ended up in huge trouble because AA refused to check us into a fligth with destination different from our passports. We even showed them that we live and have lived for years in Switzerland (Swiss Green Card). They were not the slightest impressed and in the end I had to fly domestic to BOS and check in again in Boston. Draging all the baggage from one terminal to another. AA had claimed that this was restrictions set by the destination country. When I told immigration my story in ZRH then didn't stop laughing! NO SIR, no such rule, besides both Luxembourg and Icelandic citizens do not need VISA to enter the country.

I thought this was a once of with a "silly person", but I am hearing this from more and more people that they have huge problems with their return flights because of stubborn and narrow minded checkin clerks. I know of an Icelandic girl which ended up in the same missery in Madeira to fly to Zurich. Another Swiss friend had the same trouble when flying from JFK to LHR!

What is all this about??
I understand that the airlines have to be careful to check if people which have no visa or no permission to fly to that country, but hey, all these cases are about people which have no visa requirements.
I don't get it!

CV747

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13078 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

Consider that the Check in people in the USA may not be the most knowlegable of what has to be a complicated situation. Please consider you and your wife were nationals of different countries and traveling to a 3rd country. Perhaps you should have called for a supervisor at check in at BWI for a better explaination.
In any case though, you many have had to manully transfer at BOS in any case as 1) your BWI-BOS flight was domestic (within the USA) on one airline; 2) your BOS-ZUR flight was on a different airline, and 3) BOS was the last airport in the USA you would depart from for your international flight. In other words, security and customs would have to be handled at BOS anyway.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2368 times:

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 1):
In other words, security and customs would have to be handled at BOS anyway.

There are no customs formalities when leaving the US (or most other places, for that matter) - and the only immigration formality (if you can call it that) is that the relevant gate agent simply lifts the I94 stub. There are passport checks at check-in and boarding to ensure that the correct documentation is held, but that is on behalf of the airline (to avoid fines) rather than any formal FIS requirement.

The whole scenario as described above sounds very bizarre, possibly the check-in agent couldn't or didn't want to access the necessary passport/visa information to check whether you would be authorised to travel to your intended destination with the travel documents you had. You should have had a word with the supervisor - international through-check-in is not rocket science, after all !


User currently offlineTreg From Estonia, joined Oct 2001, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2346 times:

I had a similar problem in SFO. At that time I was staying in Sweden and the UA check-in clerk was close to deny my boarding (SFO-FRA-CPH-LPI)! She insisted that I should have onward tickets from Sweden to Estonia in order to enter Sweden. The word European Union had no meaning to her. Finally one another check-in agent helped me out.

Estonia is not so big country and the fact that just 15 years ago we were still occupied by the Soviets don't help either, but still...  Confused


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8552 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2333 times:
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Unfortunately the visa info available through the reservations system is often ambiguously worded .. sometimes it will actually state "onward ticket and proof of funds required" when it is not required at all , or state "no visa required for max 3 month stay" when in fact an indefinite stay is permitted - if there is the slightest uncertainty then check-in staff will always err on the side of caution and say "No" - airlines get fined substantial $$$ for carrying pax with incorrect documentation - for example any airline flying a pax into Australia without the right docs gets fined AUD5000 and also has to repatriate the pax on the next flight even if it means bumping someone . very expensive as you can imagine


Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4878 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2326 times:

Quoting CV747 (Thread starter):

What is all this about??

Buddy I had basically the same problem. My girlfriend (now ex) were in NY for a few days before we flew on to South Africa via ATL. I'm Canadian, she's Czech. We got the same shit and had to deal with our own stuf in ATL before flying on. Sadly as some of the other posters have said there are quite a few people who don't know what they're doing.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineCV747 From Iceland, joined Jan 2000, 170 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2155 times:

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 1):
In any case though, you many have had to manully transfer at BOS in any case as

No, they could check us in all the way to Zurich, but the lady just would not accept that we do not need visa or stuff. In the end I said, just to leave it and to check me in as domestic flight. She did that, she als marked our boarding cards...means we got stripped to the bone at the securitiy gate...but that's another story.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
You should have had a word with the supervisor - international through-check-in is not rocket science, after all !

Oh, I did. she supervisor was even worse and started mumbling about American Airlines rules and stuff... When I told the Swiss agent in BOS they had to appologize.
I will NEVER fly with AA again.

Quoting YOWza (Reply 5):
Sadly as some of the other posters have said there are quite a few people who don't know what they're doing.

Yes, but the sad thing is that this mappens most of the time in the USA. I was once denied to cash a travelers check in a New York Bank, because I had no valid ID. I had my passport, my swiss driving licence, my local fitness card, dog licence... No she could only accept an US driving licence... I asked how could I do that since I was a tourist. She replied, that was the rules and she could make no exceptions.
I have the feeling that sometimes people are being stubborn about rules they did not understand correctly in the first place.

CV747


User currently offlineMacc From Austria, joined Nov 2004, 1037 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2123 times:

I have had several hard moments to explain the differences between my signature in my passport and that ones on my credit card or traveller cheques. it was my old passport, which i signed when i was 16. so, when i grew older, my signature changed happily. but you cannot explain this to some bank employees. especially in india they forced me to countersign the traveller cheques not with the signature shown on them, but with my old signature as in my passport.


I exchanged political frustration with sexual boredom. better spoil a girl than the world
User currently offlinePKK From Denmark, joined Apr 2003, 184 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2088 times:

Seem to recall a survey some years back that showed that 90% of that years US high school graduates was incapable of naming the two countries that US shares a land border with...........

Maybe some of that generation now works at Check-In....  Smile

Those two countries are....... ? Anyone ?  Smile mischievous   innocent 

Peter


User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2086 times:

Had another example of this renting a car at EWR the other day - the girl at the Avis counter spent 3-4 minutes staring blankly at my Irish drivers license before asking very hesitantly... "so, this is another........ country, right?"

And this is at one of the major international airports in the country!!  Wow!


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2030 times:

Quoting Star_world (Reply 9):
the girl at the Avis counter spent 3-4 minutes staring blankly at my Irish drivers license before asking very hesitantly... "so, this is another........ country, right?"

Hehe - you should have said, "No - Ireland is a state, has been since 1971 - that's what the 50th star on the flag is for". She'd probably have believed you.

 Smile


User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9314 posts, RR: 29
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Makes me smile when I read all this. The Number of Americans who are not aware that there is a Planet outside the USA seems to be increasing, although it's tough, from that high number.

I never use Traveller cheques anymore since I was once forced to produce 2 valid ID's plus a fingerprint, but I am always surprised that the Hertz agents at the exit gate never complain about my early 70s vintage German drivers licence.

The fact that there is something like to European Union to which countries like Lithuania now belong to is too complicated for the average check-in staff who is just trained to go through the mask on the computer. But the informatiuon should be available on the screen and that is the responiibility of the airline.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineBigOrange From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2364 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1944 times:

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 1):
Consider that the Check in people in the USA may not be the most knowlegable of what has to be a complicated situation. Please consider you and your wife were nationals of different countries and traveling to a 3rd country

The information is in their computers, all they have to do is check.

The information for ZRH states that onward documents are required if the passenger is traveling on a one way ticket.

Unfortunately at BWI you are dealing with staff who only have domestic experience.

I would have complained in writing to AA when you got home, and asked for compensation for your inconvenience.


User currently offlineRdwootty From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 902 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1808 times:

I really think the airlines need to explain that tourist are very important customers. They generate considerable sums for the airline and if the staff do not deal with them right then they may find there is no job for them soon.If I found that the staff did not deal with my situation comfortably I would ask them to confirm all they have said in writing to enable me to make a claim in the Supreme court against the airline . That will frighten them and make them understand that you need to make sure that , as a staff member,you are right before you start denying boarding or not through checking the bags. After all they might as well book Maxjet and Jetblue and save megabucks.

User currently offlineMGASJO From Nicaragua, joined Feb 2005, 464 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1713 times:

Quoting PKK (Reply 8):
Those two countries are....... ? Anyone ?

New Mexico and New England???

We in AA have access to Timatic (as many airlines do). It is somewhat easy to use, you just type the nationality of the Passenger, transit and destination country and it tells you the requirements for that particular passenger to go to that particular destination. The BWI agent (who has mostly seen passengers traveling to domestic destinations, and at the most, US citizens going from BWI to either DFW or MIA and onward to an international location). The agent was just lazy and did not want to go thru the "hassle" of checking TIMATIC and just decided to throw the ball to LX (who have more experience with international travel). This is an issue that we see every day on international AA destinations from our colleagues in the US which eventually makes our image go bad!

Quoting CV747 (Reply 6):
I will NEVER fly with AA again.

I am very sorry to hear that!
It is incredible how just an idiot can make our airline lose more money.



C208B
User currently offlineAsgeirs From Iceland, joined May 2001, 516 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1671 times:

Quoting PKK (Reply 8):
Seem to recall a survey some years back that showed that 90% of that years US high school graduates was incapable of naming the two countries that US shares a land border with...........

I have a theory which could explain this... Memorizing the names of all the US states as well as the names of every US president since Abraham Lincoln must take up quite a big portion of the memory, leaving little space for information about countries outside the US.  Wink

Quoting BigOrange (Reply 12):
Unfortunately at BWI you are dealing with staff who only have domestic experience.

When going through BWI last fall I was nicely surprised to find out that not all US residents are ignorant of the world around them. The guy driving the hotel shuttle turned out to know about Iceland and even about our naming conventions (names ending with, -son or -dottir, people usually addressed by their first names). On my way back from Baltimore to Iceland, the guy at the front of the security check took a look at my passport and said: "Oh, you're from Iceland" and immediately started to use some Icelandic words pointing to my shoes, bag and so on (daily Icelandair flights to Baltimore apparently give the security guys good lessons in Icelandic Big grin)


PS, CV747: When I read the thread title before opening it, the first thing that came to my mind was the "stay must extend over night before Sunday or you pay a higher price" rule used by Icelandair...  Smile



Reykjavik Aviation Photography - Just bring the aircraft to us and we'll photograph them! :-)
User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1657 times:

Quoting CV747 (Thread starter):

What is all this about??
I understand that the airlines have to be careful to check if people which have no visa or no permission to fly to that country, but hey, all these cases are about people which have no visa requirements.
I don't get it!

I got into a very embarrassing and annoying situation with American Airlines as well. I was flying IAD-LAX-BKK and was going on CI from LAX, They even went into the visa rules thing, and almost did not let me fly to LAX?? why? my AA ticket was seperate from my CI one and I asked if I could interline the bags, they said no and even felt like almost not giving me a bording pass cause my return from BKK was past 30 days (Americans only have 30 days visa in Thailand) I was like check my bag to LAX and let me go. They finally decided to allow me to go to LAX?? I was an American for Gods sake.

Some ticket agents really go too far with looking up visa rules and misinterpreting them and sometimes it was not necessary at all cause the AA ticket was seperately bought and a domestic ticket anyway, what triggered it was me asking to interline the bag, oopsy. But the idea of going to not letting me board was the dumbest thing I ever heard other than just saying "the bag can only go to LAX, you will need to check with CI in LAX"



There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlineMozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2168 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1549 times:

Quoting PKK (Reply 8):
Seem to recall a survey some years back that showed that 90% of that years US high school graduates was incapable of naming the two countries that US shares a land border with...........

This is school children, but there is worse: I read International Politics at a well-known Ivy League Graduate School on the East Coast, and we had to take a "common knowledge test" of international affairs, with questions like "which of the following countries is in the EU", "Which is the main religion in Indonesia", ""Which is the largest country in South America", and so on. Questions one should be able to answer by reading a newspaper from time to time or by watching a news broadcast on TV from time to time - which can be expected from "the elite" at an Ivy Leage Grad School in International Affairs. The first time this test was done, no single US student passed the test, all the foreigners did.

Combine this wide-spread ignorance with the strong belief that the US is the only country that needs protection from terrorist attacks (ever heard of Madrid, London, Sharm-el SHeikh, Riyadh, Basque country, Lebanon, Corsica, Pakistan, India, etc???) makes it impossible to deal with somebody who has common sense and a basic knowledge of what is going on in countries whose driving licenses look different and where peanut butter is not standard diet.

SIgh... such a beautiful country, so many wonderful people, but at the same time just too many empty-headed idiots who can hide themselves behind silly rules.

Mozart


User currently offlineGBan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1515 times:

Quoting PKK (Reply 8):
Had another example of this renting a car at EWR the other day - the girl at the Avis counter spent 3-4 minutes staring blankly at my Irish drivers license before asking very hesitantly... "so, this is another........ country, right?"

I have had similar funny moments in the US, like a waitress in New Orleans asking "Germany - oh yes - is it still a communist country as under Hitler?" or an american exchange student in Paris asking me something like (don't remember the exact wording) "Germany - is this a separate country or is it a part of Bavaria?".

Although I like to laugh about such statements I am not so sure that Europeans know so much more about US states than US Americans about European countries  Wink


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8552 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1505 times:
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Quoting MGASJO (Reply 14):
We in AA have access to Timatic (as many airlines do). It is somewhat easy to use, you just type the nationality of the Passenger, transit and destination country and it tells you the requirements for that particular passenger to go to that particular destination.

Timatic sometimes errs on the side of caution - I have in the past had instances where I have input one EU country for the "Nationality" field and another for the "Destination" field and it has told me that pax can enter visa free for up to 3 months ( it is a while now as I am no longer in the industry so I cannot recall which particular combination it was ) ... obviously if an agent sees this for a pax on a oneway ticket ( or on the return leg of a round trip ticket ) and is not aware that the answer is incorrect ( anyone from the "EU15" has unlimited right to work and live anywhere in the "EU15" ) then they will ask for proof of funds/onward ticket etc - if pax cannot provide this then the agent will deny boarding



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