Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

The black hole that is AA (TIMATIC, Covid and flight refusal)

The black hole that is AA (TIMATIC, Covid and flight refusal)

Old Sep 2, 20, 3:26 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Programs: none
Posts: 1
Angry The black hole that is AA (TIMATIC, Covid and flight refusal)

The black whole that is American Airlines: Sadly, Saturday August 31 we go word that my wife Leah's Dad had died.

We were not schocked, it had been a long illness, but the grief has been deep and real. We did research on what was required, preparing the needed paperwork as explained by Clark International AIrport's website. We called the American consulate, but were not able to get rhrough.

We were able to book a flight for yesterday, Monday, August 31, so we could get to the Phillipines in time for the funeral. Monday morning we arrived at Baltimore International Airport to check in our bags.
We were told by the agent at the baggage check-in we needed to book a round trip ticket to the Philippines in order to be allowed to board. WIth just 25 minutes before baggage stopped being accepted we huddled and booked a return flight.

We took the three hour flight to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. At Dallas we walked toward the gate to the connecting flight to South Korea (where we would pickup the last leg of the trip to Clark in the Philippines) We were paged before we arrived at American Airlines Gate D23.

At the Gate at 10:23 we spoke to Claire. The agent denied us passage on the flight to South Korea. She gave us multiple reasons why we couldn't get on board to say goodbye to Dad.
Inititally she presented us with a printout from something labeled the IATA. She said the printout showed we could not be let on board. The printout does not appear to require anything but a passport. (see image)

At one point my wife who was extremely distressed and under durress explained that she had lost her father and wanted her to reconsider. Claire declined asking Leah --How do I know your father really died?--I talked to Claire myself and she blamed COVID-19, at one point turning the dialogue toward how difficult her job was.

I reminded Claire that she was the customer service agent in the conversation. At the end of the conversation Claire told me that she found dialogue threatening. Exasperated, I said "Thank you" and walked back to Leah who was sobbing against the wall.
We did our best to meet Clare's demands. At first she told me she required us to have a Filipino passport.

Then she required us to get other documentation that proved Leah was born in the Philippines. Leah was inconsolable.

But through the miracle of good friends and family we were able to get the asked for documentation. Yet American Airlines continued to deny us boarding.

Eventually the gate agents just disappeared. After about an hour we went to go to an adjoining gate to get a representative to talk too.

At that gate an agent who called herself Wanda (AA agents did not provide last names or even Associate numbers which we asked for). Wanda said we could not get another flight to the Philippines through them.
She said the flight back to BWI would be the exchange for the trip we didn't get to take for the funeral. (I documented the priced difference. The trip to the Phillipines was 2K, a flight back to BWI was valued at $500)

When we went to board from Dallas for the plane back to BWI we were told the documents we were given by Wanda were not boarding passes at all. But they let us on board anyway without explanation.
We found seats and thankfully safely got home. I called American Airlines today and talked to Marla. She heard my story with profuse apologies and then without me requesting, connected me to her supervisor, Becky Furr.

Becky said Marla said I had requested to talk to a supervisor which i had not.
Becky referred me to the American Airlines website and with a "I'm very sorry sir there's nothing we can do from here." eventually hung up on me.

Leah and I are in grief from the loss of her Dad.Nothing American Airlines can do will change that. The treatment we received increased her pain, as well as cost us thousands of dollars. The treatment by their customer service borders on the inhumane, not from physical mistreatment but from an apparent gross negligence to the spirit of good customer service and any sense of sincerity or responsibility.

I wanted to make this experience public, to let people know what we experienced when working with American Airlines, A painful life event was turned almost into a traumatic event by a lack of professionalism, compassion and any sense of responsibility toward us as customers.

If you want to share this post please do, What happened to us was unjust and we wouldn't want the same to happen to other human beings. Prayers would also be appreciated. God bless.
Matthew Liptak is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 3:35 pm
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,270
If is very disappointing to hear of the problems that you had with AA and definitely sounds like the capability to provide decent customer service is lacking there

The airline was, however, correct in denying you travel to the Philippines given that you did not have a Philippino passport

Travel to the country is currently prohibited under the country's restrictions due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus

I expect that the person gave you document from TIMATEC, which is used to check requirements

At the moment for the Philippines, it states for those with US passport coming from USA

Document Validity:
Normal passports and other documents accepted for entry issued to nationals of USA must be valid on arrival.

Admission and Transit Restrictions:
Passengers are not allowed to enter.
This does not apply to spouses or children of a national of the Philippines.
This does not apply to parents of a minor who is a national of the Philippines.
Visitors traveling as tourists or on business must hold return/onward tickets.

Unfortunately, without a Philippines passport, no airline would have been able to get you to the Philippines without approval from the Philippines to allow person who would be eligible for a passport to travel there without it

Last edited by Dave Noble; Sep 2, 20 at 3:45 pm
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:17 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,119
Shouldn't TIMATIC have been checked at BWI, where the trip started?
SeeBuyFly is online now  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:22 pm
  #4  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Programs: AAdvantage Plat & 1mm, Admirals Club, United Club (life), Marriott/Hilton/Accor Gold
Posts: 5,043
You would certainly think so. That said, I had a somewhat similar experience on Delta recently. At the originating airport, the agent verified documents and issued boarding passes. At the departure gate in the hub city, the gate agent re-verified the documents again and gave me a hard time. He was misinterpreting the rules and it took a call from him to a supervisor to straighten things out.

Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly View Post
Shouldn't TIMATIC have been checked at BWI, where the trip started?
TransWorldOne is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:24 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 48,122
While it seems harsh, this has to do with the Philippine government and not AA. AA's sole role in all of this is to assure that you have the proper documents required by the Philippine government. If you do not and AA permits you to board your flight, not only would AA be fined, but you would be returned from the Philippines without ever having left the airport.

The document you were shown, a printout from IATA's TIMATIC database is quite clear. In fact, the agent who was prepared to permit your wife to board with a birth certificate was going out on a limb for you as that is not necessarily proof of Philippine citizenship. The agent at BWI should likely have denied you boarding there and that would have saved you the flight to DFW. But, that is somewhat irrelevant to the broader problem.

The one issue which you may want to pursue separately is the matter of how the return from DFW was priced. That should be done using AA's website form. I would focus on the detail of the repricing and not the entire background other than you were denied boarding.

Stressful and a pity, but travel restrictions due to the pandemic are extreme.
Often1 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:36 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 950
Maybe, given all these travel issues, AA and other international carriers should have a prominent red warning flag when you attempt to book an international ticket -- asking the passenger to confirm that he/she is allowed to enter the country in question in light of COVID-19 restrictions. This will remind customers that they need to research this information before hitting the "pay for ticket" button!

I do realize that in context of a funeral, people are probably not thinking about these details, hence the need for a warning up front...
AndyPatterson is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:57 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: KHOU + KSFO
Programs: AA EXP | Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador | Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 6,074
Originally Posted by TransWorldOne View Post
You would certainly think so. That said, I had a somewhat similar experience on Delta recently. At the originating airport, the agent verified documents and issued boarding passes. At the departure gate in the hub city, the gate agent re-verified the documents again and gave me a hard time. He was misinterpreting the rules and it took a call from him to a supervisor to straighten things out.
I've had similar experiences. AA allows mobile check in, so I have mobile checked in at HOU and gone straight through to DFW, at which point I did a document check there.

I think they're supposed to check it at the first flight, but it's not always happened.

Last edited by Antarius; Sep 2, 20 at 5:03 pm
Antarius is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 4:59 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 23,171
Yes I know its up to us the passenger to make sure we crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is when it comes to being able to enter any Country. However I put a large portion of the blame on the GAs at BWI who should have Denied boarding as long as everything was on 1 tkt. Since that would make it an Intl tkt and if you cant enter 1 place then the whole tkt is NG.

DFW should have happened at BWI. Under the circumstances I would hope as long as the OP can produce a Death Cert and prove his wife is the deceased daughter, then AA should do a Full Refund

(OP when I was based Overseas I started flying to NY starting from there. At times with mileage tkts I would fly 1 way say on BA and TWA the other or I would have 2 tkts with the 2nd tkt starting in NY if it was cheaper to do so. I was denied boarding leaving NY since all they saw was I ha da 1 way tkt and the Countty I was living /working in required non-citizens to have proof of return travel. Ran out to thehcar and got my tkt out of my carry-on and problem solved. Annoying yep buit they were Correct and had they let me fly and if questioned at Immigration about my return tkt and if I didnt have one, the Carrier would have been fined for having taken me there and most likely I would have been put on the carriers flight right out of there, even thou I had proof I was

OP sorry about your loss but in this case AA was Unfortunately correct, with the exception of not Denying Boarding at BWI to begin with
craz is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:10 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: KHOU + KSFO
Programs: AA EXP | Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador | Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 6,074
Hate to be the unsympathetic one, but I don't see why passengers think AA should let them fly into countries without valid documents.

Reminds me of the post about the guy trying to enter Canada with their US passport despite having PR there and blaming AA in a long ludicrous diatribe.
Antarius is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:13 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Frisco, TX
Programs: The Airline Run by Doug P
Posts: 20,294
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The agent at BWI should likely have denied you boarding there
This. OP shouldn't have ever left Baltimore. AA's protocol is to call up travelers who are connecting on to an international flight to confirm their passport details. AA dropped the ball at BWI. Other that that like stated the rules are the rules for entry into the Philippines during this pandemic like it or not.

Sorry on your loss OP.
TPJ and wrp96 like this.
enviroian is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:26 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Hawaii
Programs: Aadvantage Platinum, Hawaiian Platinum, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 144
The ....ed up part is them allowing you to board at BWI and they should at the very least compensate you for that mistake, but as others have said, they were correct in denying you boarding for the flight to the Philippines. Getting denied at customs would be way worse than being denied at DFW after only a 3-hour flight from BWI and both you and the airline could get into actual trouble for running afoul of their COVID restrictions.
ajf87 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:39 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
Programs: AA, DL, AS MVP, VA
Posts: 5,173
I'm sorry to hear about the OP's ordeal. However, compassionate customer service aside, it appears that the only way in which AA erred was in allowing the OP to board the flight out of BWI in the first place.

The OP mentioned attempting to contact the US consulate. I note that the US embassy's web site, under entry and exit requirements, says
Under existing guidelines approved by IATF, only OFWs; Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents; foreign diplomats; and foreign crew members of airlines are allowed to enter the Philippines.
I'm not sure what the OP found on the airport's web site (I couldn't find anything saying foreign nationals are allowed to travel to the Philippines), but the airport is in no way the definitive source for information. The US Embassy web site points to the Filipino immigration web site for definitive information, but I couldn't actually find a clear statement about the current rules there. However, the US Embassy is quite clear, and I'd expect that to be a better source for US citizen travellers than the airport web site.

Matthew, I am very sorry for your loss. Planning a very long trip on very short notice while grieving in the time of COVID is something I can't imagine, and the information from the Filipino government web sites is not as clear as it ought to be (to say the least). No two ways about it: this sucks. But in the end, it appears that American Airlines' fundamental answer -- you can't travel to the Philippines -- was correct.
wrp96 and ajf87 like this.
ashill is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Hawaii
Programs: Aadvantage Platinum, Hawaiian Platinum, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 144
Originally Posted by ashill View Post
I'm sorry to hear about the OP's ordeal. However, compassionate customer service aside, it appears that the only way in which AA erred was in allowing the OP to board the flight out of BWI in the first place.

The OP mentioned attempting to contact the US consulate. I note that the US embassy's web site, under entry and exit requirements, says

I'm not sure what the OP found on the airport's web site (I couldn't find anything saying foreign nationals are allowed to travel to the Philippines), but the airport is in no way the definitive source for information.
Absolutely this, especially an airport that doesn't offer direct service to the country in question...
ajf87 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 5:50 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
Programs: AA, DL, AS MVP, VA
Posts: 5,173
Originally Posted by Matthew Liptak View Post
Inititally she presented us with a printout from something labeled the IATA. She said the printout showed we could not be let on board. The printout does not appear to require anything but a passport. (see image)
Since it appears you aren't familiar with it, IATA is the International Air Transport Association. Among many other things, it maintains the definitive database of current visa requirements and travel prohibitions for all countries. It is the source the airlines use to determine whether you have sufficient documentation. As far as I know, airline employees have absolutely zero discretion to allow boarding if the IATA TIMATIC system says your documentation is insufficient. I know you won't be doing a trip like this one again, but for future reference, United Airlines has a public TIMATIC tool that is very useful to check. Using TIMATIC for a US citizen traveling from the US to the Philippines, the output is as @Dave Noble stated above.
JDiver, deeruck, wrp96 and 1 others like this.
ashill is offline  
Old Sep 2, 20, 6:38 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 41,270
Originally Posted by ajf87 View Post
Absolutely this, especially an airport that doesn't offer direct service to the country in question...
The airport site that the OP checked was Clark airport , which is in the destination country
Dave Noble is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: