Aviana Airlines Breach of security

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Dec 27, 2018
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#1
I am writing with a formal complaint. I booked a vacation package for a week vacation in Roatan (December 10-15) which included a flight on your airlines for a round trip JFK New York to Roatan. I was allowed to board a plane at JFK with an expired password. I was unaware that my passport was expired. Having a brother as a pilot, I am well versed in the FAA regulations as well as the heightened security in airports. I am also aware that the airline has the final responsibility for verifying the proper identity of each and every passenger aboard their plane and assuring that they have valid identification. I find it unacceptable that your airline allowed me to board a plane and arrive in a country for which I could not legally enter. I also had a layover in El Salvador for which my expired passport went unnoticed by your airline. I was denied entry, justifiably so, and put back on a plane to jJFK New York. I spent over 20 hours flying as a result of your airlines incompetence. I feel I was put in jeopardy of my safety by arriving in a country “illegally”. I then was put in jeopardy to reenter my country (USA). When returning to JFK the customs officers were astonished that your airline allowed be to board. Besides the huge inconvenience this caused me, it was a major breach of security, which is unacceptable in this age of heightened security. Your airline then informed Expedia that a credit was issued for the flight for 850.02 and I could rebook and pay a change fee plus any additional fare difference for the new ticket. I called the airline to rebook and they said I had no credit because it was used to fly back from Roatan to JFK on the same day. That is ridiculous because I had to fly back because of your failure to recognize that I did not have a valid passport. This is a breech of security and unacceptable. Upon returning to the USA, The US customs authority were appalled at the fact that I was allowed to board the plane and informed me it was negligent in the part of your airline. They welcomed me home and said that I needed to confront the airline because they breeched security policies. I have now spent money for a round trip ticket to Roatan that I used in 1 day (12 hours of travel) because you were negligent. I then spent another 1100.00 with your airline to rebook a flight 48 hrs later after I renewed my passport to finally try to start my vacation. I am requesting a refund of the complete cost of the second ticket I purchased for $1100.00. I do not want a credit because I have already purchased a second ticket. I trust that your airline will deal with this breech of security and send me a full refund for the second ticket purchased for $1100.00. I do not wish to take the next step to involve the FAA , homeland security and go public about this breach of security that has occurred because of your neglect at the airline counter, as I do not want to sabotage your airline. As if the above situation was not enough, my checked luggage finally arrived 24 hours BEFORE I flew back home at the end of my vacation(which was 5 days after my original flight)
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,163
14,752
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
You know that Avianca doesn’t read these here, correct? You can use our Company Contacts to write to Avianca.

You should have been denied boarding at JFK. That means the agent you checked in with, the security people at TSA (who apparently only check names on passports, not dates) and the gate agent who checks the passports as you board all didn’t check the passport.

I suggest you re-write this and include facts only and NO threats of going to the FAA, Homeland Security or Social Media. That will stop Avianca from communicating with you and is exactly what we tell you not to do.

Please read Chris’s article on how to effectively complain and follow his directions using our company contacts.

https://www.elliott.org/answers/how-to-fix-your-own-consumer-problem/
 
Likes: JVillegirl541
Dec 27, 2018
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#4
You know that Avianca doesn’t read these here, correct? You can use our Company Contacts to write to Avianca.

You should have been denied boarding at JFK. That means the agent you checked in with, the security people at TSA (who apparently only check names on passports, not dates) and the gate agent who checks the passports as you board all didn’t check the passport.

I suggest you re-write this and include facts only and NO threats of going to the FAA, Homeland Security or Social Media. That will stop Avianca from communicating with you and is exactly what we tell you not to do.

Please read Chris’s article on how to effectively complain and follow his directions using our company contacts.

https://www.elliott.org/answers/how-to-fix-your-own-consumer-problem/
thank you for the advice, this is all new to me so I took your advice and rewrote the letter and used the Company Contact for Avianca. Thanks again
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#5
Although the airline should not have let you board the plane in NYC, the entire responsibility for up to date travel documents rests SOLEY with the passenger. The airline is not responsible for your failure to have a valid passport.

You can contact the airline via the contacts here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/avianca-airlines/

Although this was a protocol breach it did not present a security breach since your passport was still your passport. It simply was not valid
for entry into your destination. country. This is not a security breach.
 
Nov 27, 2017
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#6
I'm on the fence on this one. On one hand, I agree with Neil that the airline should have denied boarding at JFK and should have been more careful for checking the expiration date. On the other hand, I agree with weihlac that it is the passenger's responsibility to check the travel document. Had the airline denied the boarding at JFK, the OP would still be out the $1100.00 for the second ticket because their passport was expired.

With that said, it never hurts to ASK for the money, however, I would shorten the email and avoid threats.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,191
1,122
113
Maui Hawaii
#7
I'm on the fence on this one. On one hand, I agree with Neil that the airline should have denied boarding at JFK and should have been more careful for checking the expiration date. On the other hand, I agree with weihlac that it is the passenger's responsibility to check the travel document. Had the airline denied the boarding at JFK, the OP would still be out the $1100.00 for the second ticket because their passport was expired.

With that said, it never hurts to ASK for the money, however, I would shorten the email and avoid threats.
It is also likely that the "airline' was using contract workers at JFK, not Avianca employees, making it even more difficult to address the issue.
 
Dec 27, 2018
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#8
I agree that I should share responsibility for the expired passport and I think they should share some responsibility as well. I am even willing to meet half way
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
The airline is already subject to fines from the Honduran Government. I am not sure how this is a breach of security, because the ID was not false. Are you a security threat? No, this was a violation of immigration for Honduras and Honduran Government gets to fine the airline. The US Gov fines carriers who bring in passengers with expired documents. ($4,200).

So Avianca will likely pay the Honduran Government for this. But the bottom line is that the airline contract of carriage puts the responsibility on the passenger.

The tone of the letter would need to change, Has this letter already been sent? A letter with threats is not good because the airline is likely going to get hit by a fine from the Honduran Government,
 
Dec 27, 2018
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#10
Thanks Christina
I revised it as Neil suggested and was more friendly and then used the company contact for Avianca airlines that Neil also suggested and sent it that was and definitely changed the tone of the letter:)
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#11
Woah there....
As others have said, this was not a breach of security. Avianca will pay for its error. An agent will likely be reprimanded or be fired.

Had the error not been made, you would have been denied boarding. You would have to renew your passport. You would have to purchase a new ticket. What about your responsibility to ensure that you had a valid passport?

The CoC is not in your favor.
Here is Avianca's CoC
Article 5.8. Carriage of Non-admitted, Deported and Prisoner Passengers

5.8.1. Non-admitted Passenger Carriage Policy


Pursuant to international laws and regulations, Non-admitted Passengers are non-nationals who arrive at the destination airport and are denied entry by the competent Authority in the destination country due to problems with their documentation or simply because their entry is not accepted. When the Passenger has a round-trip ticket, it will be used for the Passenger to go back to the point of origin. If the Passenger’s ticket does not cover the return route, he/she must use his/her remaining coupons as partial payment of the new ticket or must be issued a completely new ticket. The Passenger is responsible for paying the value of the new travel ticket. The fare that the Passenger is charged to cover his/her transportation to the point where he/she was not admitted will not be refunded to the Passenger unless so required pursuant to such country’s laws. THE CARRIER will not be held liable for expenses for food, transportation, hotel, security services, etc... . The migration Authorities in the corresponding country will bear the cost of custody of the Non-admitted Passengers.


Your ONLY recourse is that Avianca allowed you to board. Avianca had real costs associated with this error. So, if under the premise of shared responsibility, it has already been shared.
 
Likes: Nancy

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,163
14,752
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
You are 100% responsible for your passport bring expired, not Avianca and as others have said, it’s not a security breech.

And Avianca will be penalized and highly penalized. But it doesn’t hurt to ask for something. Just don’t be disappointed if the answer all the way up the chain is no. But we’ve seen well written letters where the letter writer accepts proper responsibility- “I know it was my fault that the passport was expired and I accept that I should been turned away at check in. But allowing me to fly and being turned away in San Salvatore not only wasted 20 hours but cost me a day to get my passport renewed in NY to fly the next day and likely cost Avianca penalties for allowing me to fly in the first place. I am requesting a refund of my flight cost and education of all involved in this error.”
 
Likes: ADM

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,692
7,504
113
San Francisco
#13
I am writing with a formal complaint. I booked a vacation package for a week vacation in Roatan (December 10-15) which included a flight on your airlines for a round trip JFK New York to Roatan. I was allowed to board a plane at JFK with an expired password. I was unaware that my passport was expired. Having a brother as a pilot, I am well versed in the FAA regulations as well as the heightened security in airports. I am also aware that the airline has the final responsibility for verifying the proper identity of each and every passenger aboard their plane and assuring that they have valid identification. I find it unacceptable that your airline allowed me to board a plane and arrive in a country for which I could not legally enter. I also had a layover in El Salvador for which my expired passport went unnoticed by your airline. I was denied entry, justifiably so, and put back on a plane to jJFK New York. I spent over 20 hours flying as a result of your airlines incompetence. I feel I was put in jeopardy of my safety by arriving in a country “illegally”. I then was put in jeopardy to reenter my country (USA). When returning to JFK the customs officers were astonished that your airline allowed be to board. Besides the huge inconvenience this caused me, it was a major breach of security, which is unacceptable in this age of heightened security. Your airline then informed Expedia that a credit was issued for the flight for 850.02 and I could rebook and pay a change fee plus any additional fare difference for the new ticket. I called the airline to rebook and they said I had no credit because it was used to fly back from Roatan to JFK on the same day. That is ridiculous because I had to fly back because of your failure to recognize that I did not have a valid passport. This is a breech of security and unacceptable. Upon returning to the USA, The US customs authority were appalled at the fact that I was allowed to board the plane and informed me it was negligent in the part of your airline. They welcomed me home and said that I needed to confront the airline because they breeched security policies. I have now spent money for a round trip ticket to Roatan that I used in 1 day (12 hours of travel) because you were negligent. I then spent another 1100.00 with your airline to rebook a flight 48 hrs later after I renewed my passport to finally try to start my vacation. I am requesting a refund of the complete cost of the second ticket I purchased for $1100.00. I do not want a credit because I have already purchased a second ticket. I trust that your airline will deal with this breech of security and send me a full refund for the second ticket purchased for $1100.00. I do not wish to take the next step to involve the FAA , homeland security and go public about this breach of security that has occurred because of your neglect at the airline counter, as I do not want to sabotage your airline. As if the above situation was not enough, my checked luggage finally arrived 24 hours BEFORE I flew back home at the end of my vacation(which was 5 days after my original flight)
I'm glad you were able to vent your frustration to us and not the airline. As my colleagues pointed out, the airline is not responsible for your expired passport, they're not responsible for any passenger documentation. You experienced a glitch on your outbound flight.

Think of the alternative ... you arrive at your destination, but you can't get home. At all. Could take weeks or months to square that away. Nobody would be paying your expenses while you tried to renew your passport. We find that people have the greatest success by admitting their errors and appealing to the airline's executives. Yours is a long shot, but never give up.