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Denied boarding for not having eTA. Any recourse?

Denied boarding for not having eTA. Any recourse?

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Old Jul 6, 19, 11:52 pm
  #1  
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Denied boarding for not having eTA. Any recourse?

I was contacted by a friend to help with the following situation if possible.

Passenger was travelling WAW-BUD-YYZ. First segment served by LOT, 3.40 hr layover in Budapest, and Second segment served by AirCanada. Ticket was purchased via Cheapoair. The passenger boards first segment and in Budapest is informed that she can't board the flight to Toronto because she did not fill out ETA form.
Unfortunately, the passenger was not aware of this new regulation that took effect in 2016. This is obviously her fault and negligence.

But I am raising few questions:
1. why was she allowed to board the first segment of the ticket if the destination was Canada and she did not have proper documentation to begin with?
2. Why didn't AirCanada agents try to assist in filling out the ETA form at the airport if the approval could have been potentially granted in minutes? ( I do understand that not everyone gets immediate approval, but that chance wasn't given/taken). I also understand that agents are not obligated to assist in this matter, but on human level they could have - given that their partner LOT made a mistake.

If I want to argue based on these two factors for refund - who should be responsible?
I have spoken to Cheapoair - they point finger at AirCanada.
I spoke to AirCanada - they agree that the passenger should not been allowed to board WAW-BUD flight w/o ETA form to Canada BUT point the finger back to travel agency.
Now Cheapoair is agreeing that LOT agents made mistake and pointing finger at them.

Please advise which of the 3 companies has legal obligation in this situation?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:30 am
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Why the finger pointing? Ultimately it was the passenger's responsibility.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:39 am
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These threads come up from time to time and as sure as eggs is eggs, if the passenger is denied boarding at their departure point (WAW in this case), the complaint is ďwhy wasnít I allowed to travel to (stopover point)Ē. Now we have a complaint that pac should have been denied boarding at first point

i donít know enough about cheapo air but is it possible they had in fact booked 2 separate tickets and that is why the issue wasnít spotted at Warsaw?

(also agree with Cedric- not sure any of the 3 companies has legal obligation)
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:17 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by nancypants View Post
i don’t know enough about cheapo air but is it possible they had in fact booked 2 separate tickets and that is why the issue wasn’t spotted at Warsaw?
I looked at the ticket prior to commenting and asking questions. It is one ticket 100%.

The reason I asked the first question is that I was under impression that airlines are Obligated to check the documents before they can transport the passenger to destination. Otherwise, they have to pay huge penalties. Correct me if I am wrong. (Essentially the governments make/force airlines to be enforcing immigration rules by imposing penalties on them. That is how I see it).

I do know absolutely opposite cases when passengers were denied boarding at the departure point because agents thought that there is not enough documentation while there was. Passengers were flying via two European countries to the US, one of which was UK and agents decided to deny boarding at the departure point because they thought that passengers might stay in UK w/o visa! This was absolutely absurd instance which I could have assisted and resolved if I had been contacted from the airport.

PS I am trying to be fair. At first, I criticized the passenger and stated it is entirely her fault. But then I remembered that airlines check whether passenger has proper documents to the destination! and raised the question whether there were two separate tickets purchased. Once I received an answer and proof that it was ONE ticket - my question remained.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:22 am
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But they wonít pay a huge penalty for transporting someone who has a right to be in Poland to Budapest, hence the disconnect
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:27 am
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Iím pretty sure the only obligation LOT has is to transport this person back to Warsaw.

Any other issues rest with the passenger.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:00 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
Iím pretty sure the only obligation LOT has is to transport this person back to Warsaw.

Any other issues rest with the passenger.
LOT didn't do that. Passenger was on her own.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:02 am
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I wonder how passengers became aware of the ETA requirement in 2016.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:21 am
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It is the passenger's fault. Unless you are traveling on a single airline, which will ensure you are checked in to the final destination before issuing any boarding pass, the airline operating the intra-Europe segment will not check you in for the second segment to US/Canada. You are only checked in for the WAW-BUD flight, which does not require a document check to Canada.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:32 am
  #10  
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Why was the ETA application not filed in BUD?

Those things are typically processed in what... 500ms?

But no, there's no recourse.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 4:58 am
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Why was the ETA application not filed in BUD?

Those things are typically processed in what... 500ms?
I am asking the same question.

PS I was not familiar with ETA requirement until this situation. I looked up online whether it does exist. At first I thought it was necessary to file it at least 72 hrs before departure. Went back online few days later and found out as You have mentioned that most of the time the approval is immediate or in few minutes! That is why I am shocked that AirCanada agents did not assist the passenger whom they saw being lost and not understanding what to do.
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Last edited by ellylex; Jul 7, 19 at 5:04 am
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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:23 am
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denied boarding??/ESTA, not ETA

AC gets fined if they transport her BUD-YYZ. It's that simple.
Not clear why you think LOT is responsible? As other FTs have said, its her responsibility.
ps The title of your thread is a tad misleading. Denied Boarding is a term used on these boards when issues arise with oversold flights, etc. She was denied boarding..........she had not met the legal requirements! Its that simple.
pps The term is ESTA, not ETA. I am pretty sure.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:13 am
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When I flew YHZ-YYZ-CDG-DKR on an AF ticket with WS codeshare flight I had to show my documentation to the AF Gate Agent in YYZ. This would be a similar situation.

As to why the agents in BUD didn't get your friend to apply then and there? They were most likely third party contracted agents (Swissport or similar) who don't necessarily know the ins and outs of Air Canada and Canadian ETA rules. The screen said that your friend needed an ETA, then your friend couldn't fly without one.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:19 am
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Not to bash your friend, but it's clearly on one else's responsibility to determine what travel documents are necessary to travel other than the traveler. WAW-BUD is a Schengen trip. She could have boarded without showing a passport. That the AC agents didn't help is unfortunate but again, not their responsibility and it's stated in the terms of both the airlines and the ticket agent. Sad position to be in for your friend, but one of her own making.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 6:22 am
  #15  
 
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OP, I think the problem here is that a few entities are potentially somewhat at fault, but there's no one that very clearly bungled something such that you can get the type of compensation you're looking for.

LO probably shouldn't have let your friend board the plane in WAW without checking she had all the documents necessary. But if they had done so at WAW, they would have denied her boarding and her ticket would still have been forfeited, I suspect. So what type of compensation should she expect from them? Probably what's reasonable is whatever she paid to get back from BUD to WAW, since that's really the cost they caused her to incur.

As for AC, I disagree that they should have "assist[ed] in filling out the ETA form". It's not AC's (or any airline's) job to fill out travellers' paperwork for them. However, I agree that your friend got bad customer service from AC. The agent could have told your friend that approval is often near-instantaneous and suggested she try to apply on the spot.

So, what should you expect from AC? Maybe to reinstate the ticket she can apply the value to a future trip, but a full refund for something that was ultimately her fault? I wouldn't expect AC to do that. Maybe on top of that, you could get a 10% off code for a future trip.

As for Cheapoair, what do you expect? "Cheapo" is in their name. A full-service TA probably would have warned your friend of the eTA requirement. The AC website definitely does. But she chose to book with Cheapoair and got what she paid for. I wouldn't expect a penny out of them.
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