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Am I the only experienced FT'er to be denied boarding for forgetting visa?

Am I the only experienced FT'er to be denied boarding for forgetting visa?

Old Jan 24, 20, 10:37 am
  #1  
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Am I the only experienced FT'er to be denied boarding for forgetting visa?

Sooooooo yeah.

I fly all across the world regularly, including Asia a lot.

I try to take a vacation once every other month and consider myself an expert traveler.

I typically go to the same places and many of my friends and family always tease me about this so I decided I was going to go to Vietnam in January 2020 for a 2-week holiday!

I bought my ticket in February 2019, cleared both LAX-HKG & HKG-LAX using SWUs.

Booked about $1600 in pre-paid non-refundable hotels.....another $500 in non-refundable domestic Vietnam airfare.

I like to plan wayyyy in advance and clear to J in almost all of my flights.

So in May 2019 I decided to finally try being an adult and figured I should buy a house for the first time. Couldn't find any existing homes that I loved so I ended up building my dream house, which was completed and I moved in January 10th, 2020. Obviously my focus over the last half of 2019 was this new-construction home seeing the build-stages and all. (I spend about 200 nights per year in hotels so I never cared about buying a house.)

Pretty excited for this trip to Vietnam right after I moved into my new home.

So last night I get all packed and head to the PHX airport......check in.....head to the AC for a few minutes looking forward to my normal meal at the Qantas FC lounge at LAX.

First class is boarding.....so I head to the gate for the short hop over to LAX.

BOARDING DENIED.

Yep...with everything that was happening in my life I, Mr. International Traveller, somehow and some way FORGOT TO GET A #%#&@! VISA TO ENTER VIETNAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😩


SO UHHH.....yeah.....I just lost an entire 2 weeks of vacation in an amazing country, along with a couple thousand dollars.

AA took $300 out of my $1,000 ticket and is refunding $700 to my CC.

They re-deposited the SWUs into my account, and those will expire on Jan 31. The EXP desk tried to find me a place to go, Bali, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona....but the cheapest option was $1,600 with such short notice.

Not my best day...was debating whether or not to even post this so if you wanna throw some jabs I am all game.

Love this forum....love traveling...lesson learned.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 10:41 am
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Ouch! Sorry to hear about that.

I'd like to give you credit for owning up to your mistake. There are some travelers who find themselves in similar situations and then blame their airline, travel agent, and everyone else for screwing up the documentation portion of a trip. Kudos to you for owning it!
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Old Jan 24, 20, 10:42 am
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Sorry your trip got messed up but can't you do visa on arrival for Vietnam? I am also sure my eVisa was approved immediately.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by adambadam View Post
Sorry your trip got messed up but can't you do visa on arrival for Vietnam? I am also sure my eVisa was approved immediately.
Me , too. Got visa at a special desk in Saigon (SGN) customs/border control (Won't call it the other name).
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Old Jan 24, 20, 10:55 am
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Wink

oh, gosh, that stinks, sorry. (but congrats on the house!)
no idea if you're the only FlyerTalker this has happened to...but I've seen other people at the airport denied because they didn't have the proper visa paperwork (china and Australia come to mind, although we were able to rectify the latter and the pax flew a day later, iir).

assuming you're a US citizen, there is visa on arrival in Vietnam although you do need to do some prep work a day or three in advance of when you want to fly.

congrats again on your new pad. and on a lesson learned.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
I'd like to give you credit for owning up to your mistake. There are some travelers who find themselves in similar situations and then blame their airline, travel agent, and everyone else for screwing up the documentation portion of a trip. Kudos to you for owning it!
This. Pretty much every other post like this blames AA, the GA, the government etc. But the OP owned their mistake and what it results in.

I've been fortunate to not end up in a situation like this. My sister forgot her passport at home once but managed to run back and get it in time.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 11:20 am
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For future reference, and assuming you're a US citizen, you could have bought a cheap ticket to PQC, since visas are not required for travel there for a stay up to 30 days. You'd have to travel on the same calendar day of your arrival in Vietnam (SGN or HAN)
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:18 pm
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That's so sad to hear. Last September I was in London and I checked passport requirements to enter UK, just has to be valid. I had a one day trip to Barcelona but silly me didn't do any research. Denied on boarding, passport has to have 3 months validity, mine had two.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:39 pm
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I did the same thing about 10 years ago, although the results ended up not being near as bad.

First trip to Australia, flying in from HKG, landed in SYD and at the immigration check realized that I never got my Australia ETA visa. Not sure how I was able to check-in and board the HKG-SYD flight, but anyways. Completely my fault as well.

Of course the immigration officer immediately goes into combat mode, all sorts of pointed questions and a downright nasty attitude. I kept saying over and over that it was my fault and I just forgot, plain and simple, but they kept digging and trying to figure out why I was really there. They were equally confused by my roundtrip CX business class booking and reservations at the Park Hyatt Sydney, not the usual itinerary for someone trying to sneak into the country, LOL.

Ultimately got sent away to one of the back rooms for more questioning and waiting, where they finally just gave me an ETA and let me through after about 1.5 hrs.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:51 pm
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if you take a vacation every month, is it really a vacation?
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:52 pm
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I did this a long time ago on a mileage run to Brazil and then to Paris and back to LAX. Luckily was able to just still go to Paris and keep my upgrade, but man I was so bummed. At that time I was kinda new to flying a lot, BIG lesson learned about Brazil!
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Old Jan 24, 20, 12:59 pm
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Why did they refuse you boarding? Vietnam has visa on arrival and you just apply at the airport after you arrive. You pay and they give you the entry.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by dav662 View Post
Why did they refuse you boarding? Vietnam has visa on arrival and you just apply at the airport after you arrive. You pay and they give you the entry.
Not quite, Visa on Arrival doesn't quite mean what you think it means, at least with respect to Vietnam. It still requires an upfront "sponsorship letter" that must be obtained in advance and presented on arrival in Vietnam.

https://www.twowanderingsoles.com/bl...isa-on-arrival

Regards
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Old Jan 24, 20, 1:10 pm
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Vietnam still requires an online application in order to take care of the visa on arrival. While it may take as long as 3 days, it often only takes 2-3 hours. A pity for OP, but I would have done the online form at PHX and asked AA to rebook me for the next day and then done whatever it takes to push the thing through.
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Old Jan 24, 20, 1:11 pm
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Positive you are not the only one. I was checking in for a business trip to Brazil many years ago and handed over my passport. A colleague--and deeply experienced traveler--standing next to me got a momentary look of horror on his face. Being a citizen of a neighboring country, he didn't need a passport to enter Brazil (just his national ID card). In a momentary lapse, he had focused on this fact, ignoring the fact that he would need his passport for, among other things, getting back into the US. He managed to get his passport and get back to the airport in time to make the later flight to GRU.

A couple of months earlier, I was asked to join a trip to Brazil that night. I said to the senior executive who asked me to join him that I didn't have a visa. "Visa?" he said looking at me with an "oh sh*t" expression. It isn't easy and takes some diplomacy, but we both managed to get the Brazilian consulate to issue same-day visas.
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