Visa denied, best option to salvage value?

Old Apr 23, 19, 3:32 am
  #1  
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Visa denied, best option to salvage value?

So first let me say I realize this is my fault, not NH's. I know I am responsible for getting my own visas and documents in order. I've had many visas to this country, and was not expecting trouble, but was denied in this case. So I realize my error is the cause here.

That being said, I'm a little confused on this one, despite quite a bit of flying experience. NH ticket stock, but no NH operated flights, only a code share (I believe) on the longest leg NRT-LAX. Operating carriers are UA/UA/HX/VN/UA/AS. Purchased on Priceline for a last minute ticket a few days ago. I believe Priceline will not be helpful, but will call soon and make an attempt. My sense and quick research leads me to think asking NH for cancel/change might be my best hope here since it's their stock. So a few questions, if anyone is so kind.

First, departure is 27 hours from now. Do I need to change things before departure? Before 24 hours of departure? Before date of departure (21 hours from now)?
Second, I'm assuming my strategy should be try for cancel and refund, but if not allowed as assumed, try for a change. But is that then only a date change, or can I do a change of departure/arrival locations? I don't have fare rules in front of me, so I apologize for that also.
Third, I haven't had to deal with IRROPS much, but I know with award travel I've heard/seen discussed that leading up to departure a ticket goes from booking airline control to operating airline control (my terminology might not be the best with that). Is there a point where UA will replace NH as having control over this ticket and I'll have to contact them?

Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 4:51 am
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A couple of thoughts.

1. Are you sure you can't get the visa? Might want to ask FTers their opinion. Looks like it might be Vietnam where there are lots of options for getting visas.
2. Try to board without the visa, that might improve your leverage on geting a refund if the airline denies boarding (even if it's your fault.)
3. Book a connection to a nearby country and then just transit the country where you were denied a visa. (Won't work if you HAVE to be in the original country but could be a strategy if you are just looking for a vacation.)
4. It is almost always the carrier issuing the ticket who has to refund. Not the operating carrier.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 7:37 am
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What route?
What country were you denied a visa?
Can you reapply for another visa?

Is the ticket refundable as per ticket rules?
That will answer the question as to whether you are even entitled to a refund before/after departure.
If you dont know the ticket rules, please post the fare basis letter here, or origin and departure, date of purchase, cabin etc.

If you can get a refund, you would need to talk to your 3rd party OTA (Priceline) and not ANA/Operating carrier.
ANA ticket stock booked on 3rd party OTA simply means ANA did not sell you the ticket.
They sold it to Priceline who sold it to you. So you need to deal with Priceline.

Is the ticket changeable/Can you reroute to avoid the country in question?
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Old Apr 23, 19, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
1. Are you sure you can't get the visa? Might want to ask FTers their opinion. Looks like it might be Vietnam where there are lots of options for getting visas.
2. Try to board without the visa, that might improve your leverage on geting a refund if the airline denies boarding (even if it's your fault.)
3. Book a connection to a nearby country and then just transit the country where you were denied a visa. (Won't work if you HAVE to be in the original country but could be a strategy if you are just looking for a vacation.)
4. It is almost always the carrier issuing the ticket who has to refund. Not the operating carrier.
1. Since you and I answer 2/3 of the VN visa questions, I did not ask FT. But I did ask a lawyer. Not sure what's up, but extremely doubtful I can get it done before my flight leaves.
3. VN is destination and purpose of trip is there, no value in this, but do understand the good idea.
4. Thanks. I'm rusty on purchased tickets, mostly award flying the past few years.
2. I put this #2 last cuz I'm wary of it and need to think it through. If they don't check, or allow me to board, do I then just walk away? Setting aside denied boarding leverage, does being checked in for a flight and not boarding offer more refund/change opportunities than a no show and/or changing before checkin? These are things I don't really know, and am just thinking out loud.
Originally Posted by Tokyoite View Post
What route?
What country were you denied a visa?
Can you reapply for another visa?

Is the ticket refundable as per ticket rules?
That will answer the question as to whether you are even entitled to a refund before/after departure.
If you dont know the ticket rules, please post the fare basis letter here, or origin and departure, date of purchase, cabin etc.

If you can get a refund, you would need to talk to your 3rd party OTA (Priceline) and not ANA/Operating carrier.
ANA ticket stock booked on 3rd party OTA simply means ANA did not sell you the ticket.
They sold it to Priceline who sold it to you. So you need to deal with Priceline.

Is the ticket changeable/Can you reroute to avoid the country in question?
Thank you for the comments. I do understand priceline should be my point of contact. From everything I've read though, they usually punt to the airline, so looking to understand all my options and choose a good strategy for what I want the outcome to be.

SLC-Vietnam in Y, via SFO/HKG outbound and NRT/LAX return. UA/UA/HX//VN/UA/AS. United lists fare classes as K/K/X//T/K/G. Vietnam is destination and problematic visa. No purpose in avoiding/rerouting/transiting, as mentioned above. I am working to find out about applying for another visa, that's a bit separate from this question. My immediate concern is that my flight is tomorrow and I would be very disappointed to lose the full value of the ticket.

I have never learned much about fare codes. Priceline lists XPN, instant purchase non-refundable. I do see this "FARE BASIS KKX08A7K" on the NH version of my receipt.

Last edited by maverick17; Apr 23, 19 at 11:38 am
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Old Apr 23, 19, 11:48 am
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You need to look at your fare rules very carefully as well as the applicable CoC. Some airlines have policies of refunding nonrefundable tickets or allowing changes that otherwise wouldn't be allowed if the passenger has applied for a visa (in time) and has been denied; you need documentation of the denial.

Nonrefundable often means changeable with a fee, so you essentially get an airline voucher to use later minus a change fee typically in the $250-500 range. The voucher might need to be used in the same of higher fare class, for an international ticket, for a more expensive ticket, for the same route/region, etc.

If you have EF, you should be able to find your fare rules from the fare codes on your receipt, assuming that priceline used a published fare. Your receipt looks like you might have a broken fare and the /CH and /IN designators make me suspect that these portions are special bulk or consolidator fares, which would have their own rules.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:25 pm
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OP - You are putting the cart before the horse. Presuming that you cannot travel as ticketed, you absolutely need to have carefully read the flexibility (change, cancel, refund) provisions of your ticket and of the PL deal (as those may be over and above NH). Once you know what those are, you then know whether you are entitled to anything. That may or may not end the discussion, but without knowing the rules, you can't possibility ask for assistance or any form of waiver to allow you to rebook.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
You need to look at your fare rules very carefully as well as the applicable CoC. Some airlines have policies of refunding nonrefundable tickets or allowing changes that otherwise wouldn't be allowed if the passenger has applied for a visa (in time) and has been denied; you need documentation of the denial.

Nonrefundable often means changeable with a fee, so you essentially get an airline voucher to use later minus a change fee typically in the $250-500 range. The voucher might need to be used in the same of higher fare class, for an international ticket, for a more expensive ticket, for the same route/region, etc.

If you have EF, you should be able to find your fare rules from the fare codes on your receipt, assuming that priceline used a published fare. Your receipt looks like you might have a broken fare and the /CH and /IN designators make me suspect that these portions are special bulk or consolidator fares, which would have their own rules.
Thanks MSP. I have read the rules several times, and am aware that a change might be possible with a fee. I am struggling to decipher anything in the rules though that would indicate specifically how much a fee will be, or find anything about allowing cancellation for document issues.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
OP - You are putting the cart before the horse. Presuming that you cannot travel as ticketed, you absolutely need to have carefully read the flexibility (change, cancel, refund) provisions of your ticket and of the PL deal (as those may be over and above NH). Once you know what those are, you then know whether you are entitled to anything. That may or may not end the discussion, but without knowing the rules, you can't possibility ask for assistance or any form of waiver to allow you to rebook.
Thank you. I agree with you. But priceline does not have any terms that I can find. From what I can find, they display my carrier rules, and then on their own rules they just say that all carrier rules apply and they might include such things as xxxx. On the cancellation and change page it says to go to the carrier, or if cancellation is allowed it will be made clear on my manage booking page. They mention they might be able to make a change, for a fee, but cannot offer any vouchers. I am not a priceline expert, as best I can remember this might be the first time I've ever used them for flights. I could easily be wrong or missing something here.

What I do find that I am thinking might limit my options is this section of the fare rules "RECALCULATION TO LOWER FARE IS NOT PERMITTED. -- FARE IS RECALCULATED FROM POINT OF ORIGIN / ANY DIFFERENCE IN FARE / TAXES AND CHANGE FEE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS RULE WILL BE APPLICABLE AT TIME OF CHANGE / REISSUE. -- REPRICE USING FARES IN EFFECT WHEN TKT WAS ISSUED".
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Old Apr 23, 19, 12:41 pm
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Have you looked at priceline threads in the OLTA forum? There should be some general information about changing/cancelling/refunding priceline tickets.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 1:45 pm
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Unfortunately, without the specifics, nobody here can provide you with other than general suggestions.

Mine are that you should call NH in the first instance. Expect to be told to call PL, but it is possible that you can at least learn what NH will charge. Then call PL. Presuming that the visa issue is a temporary and not permanent problem, have in mind the new dates so that you can rebook on the spot if you get the right answers. Calling back later may not get you the same result.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 2:29 pm
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Just FYI--Priceline CS is abysmal . Expect little from them.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 8:47 am
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Maverick, I just PMed you.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 9:22 am
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Thanks for the comments everyone. Having found agents at AA, UA and US often mistaken on things or unwilling to take much time to find the right answer, and knowing cs at Priceline would be less helpful, I was looking for some thoughts on the best way to proceed so I could lead the conversation where I wanted it to go. Everyone here was helpful with that. Here is my result from midday yesterday, before the last few comments here were submitted by all of you:

I first called NH. I knew they likely couldn't do much, but was hoping to find out their position at the least and at best maybe get an agent who would do things for me. The former was the case. The Los Angeles phone number answered promptly, and within a minute or two was able to give me the cancellation policy (only taxes refunded) and the change fee (120). He was unable to cancel or make changes, allegedly, and unable to give me an exact amount on taxes. About a 7 minute call.

Following that, I called priceline. I did not plan/look for other flight options, as SGN is my only desired destination this year and I do not have the visa issued resolved yet. I also knew with priceline they couldn't reserve the value in a change, i.e. issue a voucher. So I would have to choose new flights while on the phone. Following a 50 minute initial hold, they took an additional 30 minutes to "open the fare rules" and tell me NH's policy, which I already knew. I did have them price out a change to HKG, for comparison, in the fall. In addition to the change fee for NH of $120, priceline adds their own $30 dollar change fee, which I was aware of. The flights I priced out were an additional $600 for September travel, including the $150 in fees. I decided to cancel, which I had been leaning towards anyway. This took an additional 15 minutes on hold while priceline called NH. In the end, priceline was also unwilling to tell me how much I would be receiving in a tax refund, claiming they didn't want "legal issues with complaints". Call was about 1:45 in length, almost all of it on hold.

Overall priceline agent was kind, but very slow. Results were as expected. NH was prompt, knowledgeable and helpful, also as I expected. The priceline receipt listed my taxes as about 30% of my total cost before I cancelled, so I am hoping to receive approximately that much in my refund, although I know it might differ.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Unfortunately, without the specifics, nobody here can provide you with other than general suggestions.

Mine are that you should call NH in the first instance. Expect to be told to call PL, but it is possible that you can at least learn what NH will charge. Then call PL. Presuming that the visa issue is a temporary and not permanent problem, have in mind the new dates so that you can rebook on the spot if you get the right answers. Calling back later may not get you the same result.
I appreciate the comments, and I understand general suggestions are all that I can usually get on FT. But just for clarity, I don't really know what specifics you mean. The entire set of flight rules? I've given route, date, airlines, fare bucket (I think), and fare basis. I really don't know how to read some of the sections of fare rules, so maybe I need to find some websites that walk me through that.

Also MSP, I did look through the OLTA forum, and found most comments were complaints about the service. I did not do a thorough search, as I suspected NH's policy was guiding, and priceline just adds their fees on top without many additional rules. That might be wrong in general, but it did seem to be the case for my situation.

Last edited by maverick17; Apr 24, 19 at 9:28 am
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Old Apr 24, 19, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by maverick17 View Post
Thanks for the comments everyone. Having found agents at AA, UA and US often mistaken on things or unwilling to take much time to find the right answer, and knowing cs at Priceline would be less helpful, I was looking for some thoughts on the best way to proceed so I could lead the conversation where I wanted it to go. Everyone here was helpful with that. Here is my result from midday yesterday, before the last few comments here were submitted by all of you:

I first called NH. I knew they likely couldn't do much, but was hoping to find out their position at the least and at best maybe get an agent who would do things for me. The former was the case. The Los Angeles phone number answered promptly, and within a minute or two was able to give me the cancellation policy (only taxes refunded) and the change fee (120). He was unable to cancel or make changes, allegedly, and unable to give me an exact amount on taxes. About a 7 minute call.

Following that, I called priceline. I did not plan/look for other flight options, as SGN is my only desired destination this year and I do not have the visa issued resolved yet. I also knew with priceline they couldn't reserve the value in a change, i.e. issue a voucher. So I would have to choose new flights while on the phone. Following a 50 minute initial hold, they took an additional 30 minutes to "open the fare rules" and tell me NH's policy, which I already knew. I did have them price out a change to HKG, for comparison, in the fall. In addition to the change fee for NH of $120, priceline adds their own $30 dollar change fee, which I was aware of. The flights I priced out were an additional $600 for September travel, including the $150 in fees. I decided to cancel, which I had been leaning towards anyway. This took an additional 15 minutes on hold while priceline called NH. In the end, priceline was also unwilling to tell me how much I would be receiving in a tax refund, claiming they didn't want "legal issues with complaints". Call was about 1:45 in length, almost all of it on hold.

Overall priceline agent was kind, but very slow. Results were as expected. NH was prompt, knowledgeable and helpful, also as I expected. The priceline receipt listed my taxes as about 30% of my total cost before I cancelled, so I am hoping to receive approximately that much in my refund, although I know it might differ.



I appreciate the comments, and I understand general suggestions are all that I can usually get on FT. But just for clarity, I don't really know what specifics you mean. The entire set of flight rules? I've given route, date, airlines, fare bucket (I think), and fare basis. I really don't know how to read some of the sections of fare rules, so maybe I need to find some websites that walk me through that.

Also MSP, I did look through the OLTA forum, and found most comments were complaints about the service. I did not do a thorough search, as I suspected NH's policy was guiding, and priceline just adds their fees on top without many additional rules. That might be wrong in general, but it did seem to be the case for my situation.
You have taken care of it, but there are other issues which can affect flare rules, including point of sale and whether the OTA booked as a consolidator / BULK fare.

You certainly don't need to look at the 30 pages of dense fare rules because the longest parts typically deal with open jaws and how tickets are to be coded, all irrelevant. But, the 2-3 paras. which cover changes, refunds, and the like are all that matter.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 9:48 am
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Ok, thanks Often1. Understood.
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