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Delta denies boarding based on fuzzy visa info

Delta denies boarding based on fuzzy visa info

Old Mar 4, 10, 2:55 pm
  #1  
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Delta denies boarding based on fuzzy visa info

So I'm all set to leave today to SE Asia for a 45-day trip, flying US to Bangkok round-trip on a US passport. My itinerary called for 20 days in Thailand, then flying to Malaysia on a separately booked flight, and re-entering Thailand a few days before my return trip to US.

Except Delta denied me boarding. They quoted the IATA visa regulations for Thailand, which state "Visa required, except for a touristic stay of max. 30 days." I did a LOT of research planning for the trip and this is technically true, but incomplete. As long as I leave Thailand within 30 days and can prove it, then I am following the law. That's what my separate flight itinerary showed. The Delta agent didn't care. I wasn't allowed to board.

Delta has thus far entirely refused to budge, essentially relying on the fuzzy information of IATA and Delta's own narrow interpretation to deny any wrongdoing whatsoever. I understand Delta rep thought he was doing his job, but they have basically made up their own immigration policy based on IATA's terse and incomplete explanation.

Is there anything I can do at this point? Is there anyone at Delta I can talk to who will care? No one I can get on the phone has any power or common sense to interpret the IATA statement correctly. Right now my only option is a refund minus the hefty cancellation fee. And then I'm out a lonnnng-planned, once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! (And before you yell at me, yes, I could have just gotten a visa, but I really didn't foresee the need since I was complying with Thai immigration laws.)
brenkarch is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 3:04 pm
  #2  
 
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Frankly, I can kind of see their point. You have a ticket to Thailand with a return 45 days later. How do they know you're going to leave the country within the first 30 days? (Or, more on point, how do they know that the immigration officer that you speak with when you arrive in Thailand is going to believe that you'll leave the country within 30 days? If he sends you back, it's on their head. Thus the reason they're concerned...)

At this point it seems you're in a bit of a pickle. My oversimplified advice to you is: what's more difficult at this point, fighting Delta or getting the visa?

Thailand has an embassy in DC and consulates in LA, Chicago, and New York. Their website indicates you could get the visa within 2 days if applying in person and it costs $35. Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in and offer better details.
crhptic is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 3:20 pm
  #3  
 
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Sorry, I have to side with Delta here. They can get fined thousands of dollars if you didn't leave the country on time and they were not able to prove they were not culpable because you intended to leave the country within the 30 days required for no visa by booking a ticket with them.

You said you booked a separate ticket for the Thailand-Malaysia bit. Can you call Delta and see if they can modify your reservation by rebooking that ticket for you as part of your trip? Or somehow merge the two tickets?

By the way, sorry for the thumbs down, I don't know why that happened or how to take it off!!!!

Last edited by byoung2; Mar 5, 10 at 10:15 am Reason: Removing thumbs down at poster's request
ElkeNorEast is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 3:24 pm
  #4  
 
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I'd call up Delta and start demanding denied boarding compensation. You might get someone high-up enough to deal with it.

Your onward flight itinerary should be more than enough. Offer to have a conference call with the Thai consulate. Raise a stink.

Besides, TIMATIC (the electronic version of the Travel Information Manual) is not designed to be comprehensive. From IATA's website:

Can TIM be consulted for all travelers?

* In general TIM should be consulted for airline passengers traveling for tourist or business purposes. TIM cannot be consulted for immigrants, persons wishing to adopt children, to study or take up paid employment abroad or individuals crossing borders overland. Those passengers should be referred to the consulate of the country concerned.
The Thai consulate is the authoritative source; not TIMATIC.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 3:25 pm
  #5  
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No, Delta is definately in the wrong, the Thai authorities would require no more than proff that you were leaving the country within 30 days (if they did at all, in my many thousands of trips over the years, no immigration official has ever asked me for proof of onward travel, they generally only ask those who look like degenerates) Delta cannot have more onerous rstrictions than those published by the country in question. If its good enough for the Thais, it has to be good enough for Delta.

If you have problems at check in, quote what I say above and print out the following and show it to them. This is what the Delta agents need to pay attention to as it is what is on their screen (note *****):

Visa required, except for A touristic stay of max. 30 days:
- for holders of normal passports, being nationals of the
U.S.A.(except passports issued in the Marshall Islands);
Additional Information:
- All passports must be in good condition.
- Those travelling to Thailand with a visa issued prior to
arrival, are permitted to travel on a one-way ticket.
*******- It is strongly recommended to hold documents for next
destination as passengers may be subject to random checks.*********
hfly is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 3:29 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by brenkarch View Post
As long as I leave Thailand within 30 days and can prove it, then I am following the law.
If you had a valid, ticketed, onward itinerary to show them, Delta is UNCONDITIONALLY wrong and 100% to blame. Raise hell, write letters, demand compensation. There is no gray area if you presented a valid, ticketed, onward itinerary. They flat out were in the wrong. I would have escalated it as high as possible by any means possible on the spot.
Mabuk dan gila is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 3:51 pm
  #7  
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Welcome to Flyertalk, brenkarch
Please continue to follow this discussion in the Delta Forum.
Thanks..
Obscure2k
TravelBuzz Moderator
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Old Mar 4, 10, 3:57 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by Mabuk dan gila View Post
If you had a valid, ticketed, onward itinerary to show them, Delta is UNCONDITIONALLY wrong and 100% to blame. Raise hell, write letters, demand compensation. There is no gray area if you presented a valid, ticketed, onward itinerary. They flat out were in the wrong. I would have escalated it as high as possible by any means possible on the spot.
The OP never said he offered to show proof or showed this to Delta. Can you please clarify OP?
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Old Mar 4, 10, 3:59 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by hfly View Post
No, Delta is definately in the wrong, the Thai authorities would require no more than proff that you were leaving the country within 30 days (if they did at all, in my many thousands of trips over the years, no immigration official has ever asked me for proof of onward travel, they generally only ask those who look like degenerates) Delta cannot have more onerous rstrictions than those published by the country in question. If its good enough for the Thais, it has to be good enough for Delta.

If you have problems at check in, quote what I say above and print out the following and show it to them. This is what the Delta agents need to pay attention to as it is what is on their screen (note *****):

Visa required, except for A touristic stay of max. 30 days:
- for holders of normal passports, being nationals of the
U.S.A.(except passports issued in the Marshall Islands);
Additional Information:
- All passports must be in good condition.
- Those travelling to Thailand with a visa issued prior to
arrival, are permitted to travel on a one-way ticket.
*******- It is strongly recommended to hold documents for next
destination as passengers may be subject to random checks.*********
It is Delta's right to see these documents.
zsmith2 is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 4:02 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by brenkarch View Post
So I'm all set to leave today to SE Asia for a 45-day trip, flying US to Bangkok round-trip on a US passport. My itinerary called for 20 days in Thailand, then flying to Malaysia on a separately booked flight, and re-entering Thailand a few days before my return trip to US.

Except Delta denied me boarding. They quoted the IATA visa regulations for Thailand, which state "Visa required, except for a touristic stay of max. 30 days." I did a LOT of research planning for the trip and this is technically true, but incomplete. As long as I leave Thailand within 30 days and can prove it, then I am following the law. That's what my separate flight itinerary showed. The Delta agent didn't care. I wasn't allowed to board.

Delta has thus far entirely refused to budge, essentially relying on the fuzzy information of IATA and Delta's own narrow interpretation to deny any wrongdoing whatsoever. I understand Delta rep thought he was doing his job, but they have basically made up their own immigration policy based on IATA's terse and incomplete explanation.

Is there anything I can do at this point? Is there anyone at Delta I can talk to who will care? No one I can get on the phone has any power or common sense to interpret the IATA statement correctly. Right now my only option is a refund minus the hefty cancellation fee. And then I'm out a lonnnng-planned, once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! (And before you yell at me, yes, I could have just gotten a visa, but I really didn't foresee the need since I was complying with Thai immigration laws.)
Did you show them your ticket to Malaysia? Based on the ticket to Malaysia, Delta should allow you to board, unless there is some law in Thialand that people whose return date is beyond the thirty days visa free visit, must enter Thailand with a visa.
Yaatri is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 4:05 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
With all due respect, this is rubbish. Airlines do not get "fined thousands of dollars" because passengers fail to comply with immigration laws. That is one of those urban legends that floats around as a .......ised misinterpretation of various statutes that level fines for improperly documented passengers.
Um, wanna bet? Maybe we are debating semantics (immigration laws vs. documentation) but show up in Brazil without a Brazilian visa and the transporting carrier is subject to a huge fine. From TIMATIC:

Passengers arriving with incorrect documentation will be
deported back to the country of origin at carrier's expense.
Moreover the carrier will have to pay the detention costs
and a fine of USD 2,000.- which will be multiplied in case
of recurrence.

And here is Russia:

Russian Federation (RU)

Warning:
- Non-compliance with entry or transit regulations may result
in fines for carrier varying from a minimum of USD 1,800.-
to a maximum of USD 3,600.- or the equivalent in local
currency per passenger. Passenger will be held liable for an
administrative penalty of RUB 1,000.- with either an
indefinite delay for passenger at point of entry or
deportation by same airline on first available flight.



I do agree that DL was in the wrong. So long as the OP had a copy of his ticket showing that he/she was going to leave the country within 30 days, there should not have been an issue.

Last edited by mizzou miles; Mar 4, 10 at 4:09 pm Reason: clarity
mizzou miles is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 4:05 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by crhptic View Post
Frankly, I can kind of see their point. You have a ticket to Thailand with a return 45 days later. How do they know you're going to leave the country within the first 30 days? (Or, more on point, how do they know that the immigration officer that you speak with when you arrive in Thailand is going to believe that you'll leave the country within 30 days? If he sends you back, it's on their head. Thus the reason they're concerned...)

At this point it seems you're in a bit of a pickle. My oversimplified advice to you is: what's more difficult at this point, fighting Delta or getting the visa?

Thailand has an embassy in DC and consulates in LA, Chicago, and New York. Their website indicates you could get the visa within 2 days if applying in person and it costs $35. Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in and offer better details.
Unless Thailand requires that people with a longer than 30 days return ticket must have a visa, Delta should allow him to board. Lots of people do visa runs from Thailand to Cambodia or Malaysia to stay there beyond thirty days.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 4:06 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
With all due respect, this is rubbish. Airlines do not get "fined thousands of dollars" because passengers fail to comply with immigration laws. That is one of those urban legends that floats around as a .......ised misinterpretation of various statutes that level fines for improperly documented passengers.

You must be joking.
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Old Mar 4, 10, 4:09 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by zsmith2 View Post
The OP never said he offered to show proof or showed this to Delta. Can you please clarify OP?
Did you read the same OP? Perhaps you missed this part...

"As long as I leave Thailand within 30 days and can prove it, then I am following the law. That's what my separate flight itinerary showed. The Delta agent didn't care. I wasn't allowed to board." Pretty clear to me.
samftla is offline  
Old Mar 4, 10, 4:10 pm
  #15  
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Definitely Delta is just being ignorant. I have booked one way flights and when asked just said, my way out it on a different carrier.

Fight it, raise a stink, keep asking for a supervisor, don't get off the phone until it's fixed.
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