Hong kong airlines - worst experience ever

Old May 22, 18, 4:49 am
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Hong kong airlines - worst experience, felt like cheated

I have booked a flight from Hong Kong to Seattle through hongkong airline official website. However, when I visited the counter to check-in, I was rejected and missed the flight because I didnt have canadian visa as there was an internal transit at Vancouver.


Firstly, this thing should not be happened. If the hong kong airline create the flight that required canadian visa for transitting, this supposed to be noticed by hong kong airline. I have seen many airline that offer the same deal but the airline have the authurity to let customer transits in canada without canadian visa. However, hong kong airline makes the same deal without such authority and let the customer book the flight without noticing the contraints. This is unacceptable and unprofessional.


Then, after asking what hongkong airline can do to fix my problem, they told me to call to contact center by myself, and it took me 7 hours (9am to 4pm) to get an answer that they could do nothing, not even a refund, and it was my mistake not checking with canadian immigrant officer before booking the flight.


As a result, i needed to book from the another airline which is very expensive and I get nothing, not even sympathy, from hongkong airline officials.


I would not recommend anybody to use this airline since they are severely unprofessional and dont care about customer satisfaction at all. They have no sense of urgency and reaponsbility, and perhaps no sense of human-being.

Last edited by xamde5755; May 22, 18 at 9:03 am Reason: To add more information
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Old May 22, 18, 8:52 am
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Few questions:

1. You booked a single itinerary HKG-YVR-SEA with Hong Kong Airlines ? Who's operating the YVR-SEA leg ?
2. Which country's passport do you hold ?
3. When you say "Internal Transfer" you mean International to International @ Vancouver, correct ?

Edit:
- I see that Hong Kong airlines is not listed as a "International to US" transit guide http://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/navi...ssenger-guides
- I tried a similar booking up to point of payment with Indian identity and the website never warned me of Canadian Visa requirements

Last edited by Virginia Emery; May 22, 18 at 9:14 am
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Old May 22, 18, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by Virginia Emery View Post
Few questions:

1. You booked a single itinerary HKG-YVR-SEA with Hong Kong Airlines ? Who's operating the YVR-SEA leg ?
2. Which country's passport do you hold ?
3. When you say "Internal Transfer" you mean International to International @ Vancouver, correct ?
1. That's right. It is the single iterinary, having only 1 ticket number. I booked from the Hong Kong Airline official website. The one who operates YVR-SEA is Alaska Airline.
2. Thailand
3. I mean I didnt book two separate flights. I searched Hong Kong for departure and Seattle for arriving, and then just bought the ticket.

Last edited by xamde5755; May 22, 18 at 9:06 am
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Old May 22, 18, 9:20 am
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I feel sorry for you, I just tried it again with Thai identity and still no real Visa warning on their website
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Old May 22, 18, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by Virginia Emery View Post
I feel sorry for you, I just tried it again with Thai identity and still no real Visa warning on their website
Thank you very much. This situation made me very upset. my plan was collasped, my money was gone, my time was lost staying in the airport doing nothing for 24 hours.

Please tell me if I could do anything
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Old May 22, 18, 10:43 am
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The airline's internal booking system seems to have failed here which sucks for the OP BUT the airline's own website tells people to verify their eligibility to transit and enter a country via the IATA website https://www.hongkongairlines.com/en_...el/visas_taxes which when I completed that as a Thai citizen it did correctly state visas are required.

A traveler is responsible for their own visa documentation even though the airline failed here. Since their internal system failed they should acknowledge this and offer a credit as a customer service gesture but a refund is not due here in my opinion.
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Old May 22, 18, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
The airline's internal booking system seems to have failed here which sucks for the OP BUT the airline's own website tells people to verify their eligibility to transit and enter a country via the IATA website https://www.hongkongairlines.com/en_...el/visas_taxes which when I completed that as a Thai citizen it did correctly state visas are required.

A traveler is responsible for their own visa documentation even though the airline failed here. Since their internal system failed they should acknowledge this and offer a credit as a customer service gesture but a refund is not due here in my opinion.
You should go through a sample booking, it wasn't obvious to me that OP would have been transiting in Vancouver.

Also Vancouver DOES support sterile International - USA transits, just not Hong Kong Airlines. Cathay and Philippines are okay - go figure

International Arrivals to USA Departures

You are a connecting passenger who is arriving from an International City (e.g. London) and connecting to a US destination (e.g. New York)

In-transit pre-clearance -- For passengers arriving on Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, All Nippon Airways, Philippine Airlines, WestJet, China Southern, China Eastern, or KLM please follow the "In-transit pre-clearance".
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Old May 22, 18, 11:32 am
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Passengers must be super vigilante when booking tickets with connections in third party countries. I always will research that county to make sure that I donít need a visa or the visa is realitively easy to get. When you book a ticket through a third party country, and donít do your research, you are playing with fire.
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Old May 22, 18, 11:52 am
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I did try doing a sample booking and note that their internal booking system failed which is why the airline should give a credit as an acknowledgement. But it still is the responsibility of the traveler to make sure they hold any required paperwork which the other quote you posted even lists which airlines travelers would benefit from direct transfer. The IATA website takes into account the airline and indicated correctly in this instance that a visa is required.

Originally Posted by Virginia Emery View Post
You should go through a sample booking, it wasn't obvious to me that OP would have been transiting in Vancouver.

Also Vancouver DOES support sterile International - USA transits, just not Hong Kong Airlines. Cathay and Philippines are okay - go figure
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Old May 22, 18, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
I did try doing a sample booking and note that their internal booking system failed which is why the airline should give a credit as an acknowledgement. But it still is the responsibility of the traveler to make sure they hold any required paperwork which the other quote you posted even lists which airlines travelers would benefit from direct transfer. The IATA website takes into account the airline and indicated correctly in this instance that a visa is required.
Please stop spreading misinformation. I just went through the IATA website as per your instructions, put in a Thai passport holder flying HKG-USA via Canada on Cathay, it told me I needed Canada Visa
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Old May 22, 18, 12:41 pm
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Ok so it told you that a visa was needed when one wasn't which is far better than saying one isn't when it is. The site does differentiate by airline but in that case says one is when it isn't. And when the traveler goes to get a visa they'd be told one isn't. It still provides accurate info for the travel the OP booked and it is still the requirement of the traveler to obtain the appropriate paperwork. The airline tried to put in a safeguard and it failed which is why they should make a customer service gesture while the responsibility still falls on the traveler.

Originally Posted by Virginia Emery View Post
Please stop spreading misinformation. I just went through the IATA website as per your instructions, put in a Thai passport holder flying HKG-USA via Canada on Cathay, it told me I needed Canada Visa
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Old May 22, 18, 12:42 pm
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Wait a minute. When booking on Hong Kong Airlines' own website, there is no field to input nationality. So why would anyone expect a visa reminder to come up?

It is always the passenger's responsibility to get all the paperwork and visas to travel, not the airline's.
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Old May 22, 18, 12:48 pm
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When I did my sample booking it asked nationality when imputing Passenger Information.

Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Wait a minute. When booking on Hong Kong Airlines' own website, there is no field to input nationality. So why would anyone expect a visa reminder to come up?

It is always the passenger's responsibility to get all the paperwork and visas to travel, not the airline's.
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Old May 22, 18, 12:53 pm
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Typically you expect major Canadian hubs (Toronto, Vancouver) to have sterile transit, Hong Kong airlines being one of the airlines omitted from this "feature" is strange, they really should "warn" people of it

Yes, it's the traveler's responsibility to ensure Visa, a line or two warning on their website isn't going to break the bank, it doesn't even have to be nationalistic focused - just warn people it's not a sterile transit in Vancouver for HK. But then again once they do this they'll lose business to those airlines that does transit (Air Canada, Cathay) properly
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Old May 22, 18, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
When I did my sample booking it asked nationality when imputing Passenger Information.
Ah .. that Nationality box only appears for certain bookings, not all. The Japan ones don't have that box.
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