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air canada not taking responsibility and not sure where to call

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Sep 29th, 2014, 03:15 PM
  #1
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air canada not taking responsibility and not sure where to call

Hi,
Not sure if this is the right thread, if not please move it to the correct place.
My bro was travelling from Calgary to beijing and then singapore and was denied boarding due to them saying that he did not have visa. He was going to use the 72 hour visa free visit and already had the flights booked to singapore under the 72 hour limit. Anyways, the manager at yyc named Paula and customer rep there was rude and did not listen or check that this was in fact a policy for china. They said they were busy and just denied him boarding. Another lady in the customer service said they know about the 72 hour visa free, but she can't do anything.

So, he missed the flight and then called ac to rebook, they charged him an extra 500, even though both of the reps on the phone found the 72 hour rule and said its a known rule.

What can he do to get the compesation back, should he have to do a chargeback from the credit card? He lost vacation time, money for this flight, hotels, tour at least $1000.
I don't have twitter or facebook, not sure if that would be the best way to reach them. He tried to ask for a manager or higher up from the phone rep, but she says thats not possible.

Thanks for your help and suggestions.
Steven
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Sep 29th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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Sorry I can't be much help on this. I don't think his credit card company would do anything for him as he did in fact get a flight, albeit a more expensive one. I think his best bet is polite persistence with Air Canada. Hopefully the reason he was denied boarding is documented in the system and it will be clear that the agent was inadequately trained. It would be worth reading the fine print in the terms and conditions even after the fact because in all fairness it does seem he has a legitimate case.
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Sep 29th, 2014, 07:42 PM
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I doubt he'll be reimbursed for the lost hotel and tour expenses since airlines take no responsibility for expenses incurred once they get you to your destination. I would hope they'd refund him the $500 extra he had to pay for the flight. Air Canada owes him that. It was the agent's mistake.
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Sep 29th, 2014, 07:45 PM
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I agree. Keep pushing it with AC and go as high up as you can if needed.

You can also try Conde Nast Treveler mags Ombudsman if this does,not work.

Really sorry to hear his.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 12:46 AM
  #5
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thanks for your replies, will let you guys know how this turns out. They definitely don't make it easy to contact the higher ups though.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 01:10 AM
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Is the 72 hour visa free visit in fact a 72 hour transit visa exemption? If so, there are certain rules to follow:

http://www.visaforchina.org/LON_EN/g...s/270985.shtml

Point 3 states you need to make the airline aware and this would not be at the airport when trying to board the flight. This would be well in advance of travel. This is because the airline makes the application to border control as explained in the link. How would the airline know your brother's intention of travelling on a visa exemption scheme if he didn't inform them prior to travel? Airlines face hefty fines for allowing travellers into countries without correction visas/documentation etc.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 05:22 AM
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The link is informative but nowhere does it say when or how to make the application. I would think at the very least the AC agent should be able to explain the proper procedure to the traveller. And surely there are times when the airline would want to make at least minute application--when there is a cancellation or schedule change for the onward flight, for example.
Clearly we don't have all the details here.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 07:24 AM
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That link is misleading because it keeps using the word "apply." There is nothing to apply for because there is no visa. It's a transit without visa, sometimes referred to as TWOV. With any international flight, the airline submits the passenger list to the destination country. You don't have to inform the airline in advance of check in that you are using the TWOV option for China. You shouldn't, at least. The OP's brother did nothing wrong.

I've read all kinds of stories about this particular problem. It's check-in agents at airline counters outside China who create the problem when they don't know about TWOV. They're checking you in for a flight to China, so the passenger must need a visa, right? Not if the TWOV requirements are met. In this case, it would have helped to have the check-in agent put in Singapore as the destination country with China as the transit point. Then in the information she saw on her screen, she could have seen that, yes, the passenger could spend 72 hours in Beijing without a visa.

I guess once you get to China, they all know about TWOV. You need to show them your ticket to a third country within 72 hours and they'll let you in. There's nothing to apply for in advance.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Good grief, is it really that hard to understand what to do?
Call the airline and say you want a 72 hour visa exemption for China, that's what the link says. This is because the airline makes the application to border control as explained in the link.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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No, there is nothing the passenger needs to apply for in advance. The link is informative, but misleading in the way it uses the word "apply." Once again, the OP's brother did everything he was supposed to do. The check-in agent was wrong.

TWOV has been expanded to include several additional airports in addition to the ones mentioned in the link.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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Nothing to apply for, nothing needs to be done in advance. The fault lies with the AC agent. Wrong, lazy, or who knows what his/her problem is.
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Sep 30th, 2014, 08:57 PM
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The problem is more likely to occur at check-in at non-hub airports. Agents at airports with non-stop flights to China see this regularly and are more likely to know about TWOV. It's agents checking you in for a connecting flight who will be less familiar. I take it this was an itinerary that connected somewhere? Vancouver?

No excuse. This information is readily available to all. Sounds like this particular agent refused to take the time to listen.
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Oct 1st, 2014, 02:27 PM
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First, your brother should be pursuing this, not you. He is the one who will decide if the remedy they offer is adequate.

Second, I think this is more complicated than most of the problems that pop up here. People seem to think your brother will be bound by the contract of carriage, but that the airline should not be. I don't think any judge would buy that; in fact I think the airline would go to extremes to keep this out of the courtroom and news. My outrageous advice would be to find a good lawyer who knows transportation law, and sue them. The lawyer will help your brother make a list of what he has lost due to the airline's refusal to deliver the service he paid for, and I would think money lost on the hotel and any other costs would be placed at issue.

When you or your brother calls them, emails them, and even writes them, you are dealing with people who lack the authority to offer a good settlement, and are trained to try to get you to drop the matter. A lawsuit puts you on a much higher level, where people have the authority to make a much better offer.
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Oct 1st, 2014, 03:21 PM
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What the booking with AC to Singapore, or was it only to Beijing and the booking to Singapore was with another carrier?

In case of latter, AirCanada would be the carrier that allowed your brother to fly to China without proper documentation and have to pay all costs and penalties.

Agents are well trained in visa matters, because fines for non compliance can easily exceed $10K.

Ultimately, it is the passengers responsibility to ensure that the documentation is in order before they board the plane.

Mark
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Oct 1st, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Mark, TWOV is allowed even if separate tickets are involved. You have to show the onward ticket to the check-in agent for the airline that transports you to China, and it has to meet the 72-hour requirement. That's the only documentation you need. The OP's brother did that. And the mere fact that Air Canada did put him on a later flight, means they realized he had all the documentation he needed.

I know all this because I'm looking options for trip to China. In short, TWOV has to be:

Country A ---> Chinese airport ---> Country B

You can stay in the city/district of the Chinese airport in question for a maximum of 72 hours without a visa. The 72 hours is based on scheduled flight arrival and departure times.

Country A and B have to be different. USA-China-USA would require a visa.

China cares only about the non-stop flights that bring you to and take you from China. You could do USA-China-[connect in Japan]-USA, and China would look on that as USA-China-Japan. TWOV is allowed.

Country A or B could be Hong Kong or Macau. They count as separate countries for immigration purposes.
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Oct 2nd, 2014, 04:42 AM
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Jeff, your information is most helpful. However, I don't think that the fact that AC put the passenger on another flight necessarily shows that they realized/acknowledged he was eligible for TWOV. We don't know if he actually entered China for any length of time; he may have simply gone on to Singapore.

If no other recourse is found, a letter from lawyer could do the trick. Another option is CBC "Go Public" Time consuming and, if a lawyer is used, costly for the passenger, but he would be doing the travelling public a favour if he pursued this and held AC accountable.
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Oct 2nd, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Okay. I was reading into the description of what happened that OP's brother did go to China. Maybe not.
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