Old May 12, 2017, 2:18 AM
Prachi Kariya Prachi Kariya is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1
Angry Canada Transit Visa and no refund for no fault of ours

I had booked an Air Canada round trip ticket from Los Angeles - Toronto-Munich-Mumbai through Exploretrip.com. The flight number was AC 790 for 11th May, 2017 at 6.00 am. When I reached the airport for check in, to my surprise, the officer for the first time informed me that I should have a Canadian Transit Visa as your informed flight Air Canada has a halt at Toronto, Canada. They did not issue me boarding pass nor allowed me to fly. I contacted Air Canada and Exploretrip.com for the support as neither Air Canada nor Exploretrip.com had informed us in any of their communication to us that I would need transit visa to board this flight. The ticket issued to us also has no mention about this requirement. We also found out from the airport authorities about Electronic Transit Authorisation, which is issued online to travel in an emergency situation like this. Since I am holding an Indian Passport, I was told that I am not entitled to ETA.
I and my parents in India spent almost 3 hours co-ordinating with Air Canada and Exploretrip.com to figure out a solution and extend their help as follows :
1) Arrange for rescheduling my tickets after few days so that I can obtain Canadian Transit Visa
2) Refunding the entire amount so that we can arrange for alternate booking which does not have a stop over at Canada
3) Atleast keep the return flight ticket open and valid and re-issue us the return ticket so that we could make make an alternate ticket booking only one way from LA to India.

Both, Air Canada and Exploretrip.com were passing on the responsibilities for this problem on each other and did not offer any support in such an emergency situation. They just repeated their SOP manual language to say that they cannot help it and washed their hands off by stating that the passenger should have obtained the visa as they have made mention about it on their website. It is unreasonable on part of both the vendors to expect the passenger to visit their entire website everytime they travel.

Obtaining transit visa is not a normal practice across the world as I have travelled places at various international locations and by no stretch of imagination I could have envisaged the requirement of obtaining visa. If this is a MUST condition, then the ticket issued by Exploretrip.com should have highlighted this requirement prominently. Further, Air Canada should have dropped an email to their customer about this requirement.

Air Canada mentioned that the entire ticket is cancelled despite our discussions with them. In this emergency situation, we had to make a fresh alternate round trip booking which cost us $1100.

We request your esteemed organisation to take this up with Air Canada and exploretrip.com and get us the refund of the entire ticket which cost us $850.

Further, Air Canada and Exploretrip.com should be penalised for cheating the customers by not stating such statutory requirements on their tickets and then cancelling the ticket when the passenger show up on the date of travel by surprising them with the requirement of Canadian Transit Visa.

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