my first CO Award trip- gone wrong, a disaster...what can i do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by cotter77, Jan 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    Had award trip to LIR last week. Award was with CO miles on US via CLT.
    Arrived and denied entry because I had less than 90days on my passport (everything i read said needed 30 days).
    Begged immigration agent and no help from her. Wasn't ready to bribe.
    The US air gate agents spent half an hour bumbling trying to get us booked on the half empty return flight.
    They put us back on the plane and sent us home.
    What I dont understand is that the morning of departure we put all passport info into the USair website and got no flags or warnings, and the gate agent in CLT checked passports and didnt mention anything either.
    In order to make the most of my time off, we went to hotel and called CO and tried to rebook to SJU. agent tells me we are set, and that i will get back 60,000 pts refund plus some taxes and fees.

    The next morning in CLT airport, we find that we have no seats and are not ticketed. US air peeps no help. CO ticket desk tries to help and fails but one lady knows who to call for help. She gets us on that plane to SJU thank god...but no one, not once mentioned anything about costs in dollars or miles or if its on the same ticket or what..... Meanwhile I have no clue how we are getting home (out of fear and not thinking anyone else can fix this ticket or that I aint going to get out on a decent award, i caved and bought jet blue tickets home....ouch).

    Now that I am home and my awesome bargain perfect Costa Rica trip turned into a moderate relaxing and damn expensive Puerto Rico vacation.....what can i do to get those miles back? or whats my recourse with USair? shouldnt they have saved me from getting on the flight to LIR? and CO - i think they are going to whack 60k miles out of my account for CLT-SJU? and I aint getting any refund? so i ended up paying 4x miles for a one way to SJU?
     
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  2. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    I don't see how this is CO's fault, frankly. It is your responsibility to find out entry requirements and looking at the web site of the Costa Rican embassy (or, in fact, the U.S. State Department's page on foreign entry requirements for U.S. citizens) would have told you about the 90 day requirement.
     
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  3. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    Isn't that most countries require at least 90 days before your passport expiration in order to be granted entry?
     
  4. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    No fault on airline or immigration at LIR. Its regularly documented that if your passport is expiring within 3-6 after your trip, that you need to renew it. You can send them an email POLITELY recanting what happened but since they did nothing wrong under terms/conditions/contract of carriage don't expect anything. It is always the passengers responsibility to have documents in order.
     
  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I'm pretty sure that the only responsibility the airline has is to the destination country — if they transport someone who can't enter the country they're responsible for getting them back out of the country. The reason they check your documents is that they don't want to wind up with unscheduled and possibly non-revenue forced returns. For that reason it probably would have behooved them to catch the problem with your documents. But only so that they wouldn't need to accommodate you on an outbound flight, not because they had a responsibility to you.

    Hopefully they'll be willing to accept the regular round-trip point cost for the flight. But I think that would be a concession on their part, not anything due to you as an obligation.

    (I once realized a few days before a trip that two out of the four of us didn't have the six months (?) passport validity required to enter the Netherlands and we went through some substantial effort and cost to get the passports renewed immediately. Reading your post I'm glad we didn't chance it).
     
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  6. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    More accurately, a few countries fine the airline a non-trivial amount for bringing someone ineligible to enter. To the airline, the cost of taking someone back on the next space available flight (they won't have any problem telling you that "the next space available is three days from now, enjoy sleeping in pre-immigration area") is relatively negligible.
     
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  7. spaced2
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    spaced2 Silver Member

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    this happened to my travel partner in june on a ba flight from new york to tel aviv, except he was denied boarding at JFK. 100% his fault for not renewing his passport or checking entry requirements...and i lost my companion first class reward :(
     
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  8. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    That hurts.
     
  9. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Lesson learnt: renew your passport 9 months before expiry.
     
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  10. spaced2
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    spaced2 Silver Member

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    yes. a lot. though, to keep everything in perspective: worse was being along on the trip
     
  11. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    yup, woke me up to check everyone in the family's exp date, and put in a Google reminder...
     
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  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    What is most surprising to me is that you somehow managed to have an agent "rebook" your already used LIR tickets to SJU and actually get to fly there on the same award. You used the tickets when you went to LIR; anything beyond that was pure luck.
     
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  13. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    ...sort of, i am hoping its luck but it is still unclear what is going on with my CO miles account. For all i know they are charging me more miles, and maybe double?....thats what i cant figure out....they put me on a plane from CLT to SJU but not once did anyone say anything about cost in either dollars or miles, other than the phone agent on dec 31 in the hotel telling me i was getting refunded 30k miles per person.
     
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