A hard won success

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Richard 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #26113

    Les.
    Participant
    @oldles

    Whew, what a palava.

    Tamara has a half sister she has never met, and she located her a couple of years ago in the states, New England if my geography is correct. Anyway, she is visiting her, left on the 4th, returns tomorrow/Friday.

    I have not flown since I attended a conference in Rimini 1975, and that was organised by the company. OK, I know nothing about air travel but I booked her flights online. Apparently I sent her from Ronaldsway to M/C, then via Frankfurt to Philadelphia. The return was to be Pa via  Toronto then to M/c and back to the Island. Well, on her first Sunday, the 8th, somebody told her she would need a visa for Canada. A terminal change and no transit arrangements. On the Monday, I tried ringing the Ca Embassy, to ask for help, but the phone was answered immediately by a message saying it could not be answered now, try again. After 10 or a dozen goes, I found the “contact us” bit and send a pleading message from an old man with a panicky wife in the US. That went to Ca, and an automated reply said it had been passed on (to London I assumed).

    Online searching on Tuesday morning and I found an online application, and tried to fill it in, but needed T’s passport details. Not only that, but where you put your home address, it does not show the Isle of Man. Whilst the Isle of Man is NOT part of the UK, it is often assumed that it is, but there was no UK to try. England, Wales etc., but not Man. What to do now?

    My pal had found another UK based Canada site, which I tried. The phone was answered. More than 5 mins listening to messages first in English, then in French, before eventually getting a real person, but with a very non-UK sounding voice. No, he could not help, but did say I should use the “England” category for the home address.

    I knew my mains power would be off on in the afternoon (early morning in New England), so sent a message to Tamara to check it out, but wait until the power was back, and she could try using her sister’s PC, whilst skype-ing me on her Lenovo tablet as I checked the online form myself.

    Needless to say, they tried without me, selected the wrong category (I assume) then make a mistake leading to her credit card being stopped. They were expecting a $Ca7 cost, but had been faced with a £46 one which really wound Tamara up. More general panic.

    Wednesday, armed with her passport details, I filled in the form on her behalf, paid my $Ca7, and got an online receipt. I instructed the printer to print it off, forgetting that I had switched the printer off to prevent the “churning” it does after a power down from mains rather than by the soft On/Off button. Fortunately, I also took a screenshot and left it on the desktop.

    I had seen that I should expect  visa confirmation within 72 hrs, so I sat back and relaxed. Assuming Sat and Sun not counted, then it could take until Monday Afternoon (Canada time). Nothing arrived, so Tuesday morning I began the online checking routine. Answering the first question, another question materialised, requesting the number on my email confirmation received after making the application. The one I never knew about and had never received! Without that number, the system refused to allow further progress. IMPASSE. I went back to the phone number with the 5 or more minutes of multilingualism. The foreign sounding voice eventually materialised, but was completely unhelpful. It seems his section only dealt with paper applications, and he could not help in anyway. Impasse number two.

    Tuesday morning was also “Power off” again for a new meter installation, so it was afternoon before I told Tamara the current situation; Just then, an email arrived. A reply to the one sent nine days before! It answered my query about how to get around the no “Isle of Man” question already answered by Mr. Bilingual. Maybe they would respond to another question, or would it be another nine days? Anyway, I carefully crafted another pleading reply for help, explaining the impasse, and reminding them that Tamara’s flight was on Thursday.

    I can’t do any more, so, off to the shed and relax over the fitting of the Alazzurra engine.

    When I come in to prepare my tea, there IS A REPLY! Can I send a copy of the photo page of Tamara’s passport? Contact her and request the copy. Off she trots with her sister, they find a photo shop, it is scanned, my email address is provided, and an email sent. Now I was expecting Tamara to return with a file and email it to me, so when an email arrived from Store5046, carrying the heading FROM KM_554e, I realised it was spam and simply deleted it.

    Some time later, Skype announced Tamara’s return. “You should have an email from the shop”, so I said I had nothing, and checked my inbox. Maybe it takes a while said her sister, so I said I would keep checking. At 9:00pm, when I went to make my cuppa, I suddenly thought “What was that spam that came earlier?” A look in Deleted revealed the scan of the passport!

    I emailed it off together with my screen shot of the online receipt for the $Ca7, and went to make my belated cuppa..

    This morning an email confirmation of of the transit visa arrived.

    In future I will put all the booking in the hands of a travel agent, I don’t want all that again!

    Les.

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Les.. Reason: spelling and grammar corrections
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Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #26121

    JayCeeDee
    Participant
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 871

    there are all sort of gotchas with visas. We were pretty experienced travellers because when we worked, we holidayed three or four times a year. Trade went quiet during the school holidays when our customers deserted London for the country ( or another country.)

    We were going to Thailand for the second or third time as we loved it there. On this occasion we were staying for five weeks. No problem there except for the fact that you are issued a visa on arrival that lasts 31 days. Halfway through the holiday my brain did the calculation and the alarm bells were ringing.

    It’s only 4 days over, shouldn’t be a problem, I thought, but best to check. It turned out that they didn’t send you to prison for overstaying, they just charged you $500 for an airport issued renewal, before they sent you home!!

    Luckily, there was an easy out. We were stayng in Chang Mai and Chang Rai up in the north of Thailand, so we went up to the Golden Triangle, walked over the bridge to either Laos or Burma, turned round and came back into Thailand, getting a new visa stamp and 31 more days.

    I know the bowel-clenching moment that follow things like that, so well done in the end.😀

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    #26122

    Dave Rice
    Moderator
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 1,444

    Les, what a PITA. Lets hope this fun doesn’t await us in 6 months time.

    I’m quite happy organising our own travel in the EU but outside I’ll leave it to the experts. Two of my kids did a 3 week tour of eastern Europe in August. No visas required but once outside the EU things like mobile data got complicated and expensive. It’s the first time they’ve been over a real border and were amazed when the Serbian border guards woke them up at 2 am (sleeper train) to see their passports and took them (the passports) away for stamping.

    Lots of companies still insist I must live in Avon, not South Gloucestershire which according to them doesn’t exist. Avon was scrapped in 1966 however the name lingers on, especially in institutions like the Avon & Somerset Constabulary.

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    #26124

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,848

    We still get letters for Clwyd, from the water and council,its never need Clwyd since we moved here almost 20 years ago.youd think the council at the least would of sorted that by now.

    Speaking of passports. Entering eng from calais this summer, they was more lax than ever before. My wife held up the passports, all open and stacked as you do, the women didn’t even take them off my wife, she silly asked how many passports, then half looked in the car window. Given my cars rear is fully blacked out, there is no way she could see how badly wad in the car.

    A couple of years ago, after the summer attacks in France, we was ment my armed patrols in the port, the wife doesn’t like weapons so she wad a bit freaked out. I was asked to open my boot for inspection everyone was.

    Now we had 5 people in a Coupe, and the boot was rammed, not helped by a stop over in Andorra, then a very early dart from la manns, on top of 4 weeks on the road. So as I was attempting to open the boot, sort of holding shit back form falling out, the guy just said doesn’t matter and helped me shit the boot. Lucky as that afghan child and the kilo of coke could of got us in real bother. Lol.

    It all goes to show, it’s all theatre.

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    #26130

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 2,254

    When I did a lot of travelling to god-forsaken countries the best passport to have was an Irish one as holders of this nationality rarely had airport problems unlike Brits and ex-colonies with chips on their shoulder.

    All this Brexit carp makes me wonder if it is worthwhile looking at one grandfather who was born in Cork, but heaven knows how you get birth proof for someone who’s info was burned to bits in the Easter Uprising! I’d much rather have an EU passport than a British one.

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    #26133

    Les.
    Participant
    @oldles
    Forumite Points: 245

    Well, she SHOULD have been on Canadian soil for the last hour and a half, and if there is free WiFi, maybe I will get a call. But she has about 15hrs before the Manchester flight departs, so more likely I will get a call late evening. It was lucky I sent that pleading email on that first Monday. There was a helpline linked from that webpage,but every click got a “not accessible, probably busy. Try again later message.

    I had prepared myself for booking a fresh flight, avoiding Canada, but which would have cost many hundreds at this short notice no doubt. But in the end, luck prevailed.

    Thank goodness.

    Regarding all these boundary changes, I remember back in 1965/66 whilst I was entering into my first house purchase. Giving my solicitor address details, I included my (new-fangled) post code. Oh!, we don’t bother with that, was his reply. I saw nothing wrong with the county system, it had served for centuries, and the country never got bigger.

    Les.

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    #26138

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,561

    Things on the visa front have got a lot more complicated and expensive over the years. I have not travelled much for the past few years but as far back as 1975 I was living in one country when I had some holiday owing so I bought a car in another country and a few weeks later flew into Italy and after a few days here and there picked up the car. After that we drove round a bit, nearly ended up as far to the east as Yugoslavia where the Italian prices, especially for hotels were far superior, the crowds were far fewer and the scenery was just as good. After that we went through various immigration points into various countries and just drove about the places such as Switzerland, Germany, France, etc. All with no trouble at all, the only place we had any hold up was a police road block at somewhere about 03:00 hours, but having full documentation that was soon sorted with smiles and laughter all round. From what I am reading here the combined effects of the EU control mania and the impacts of various terrorists of all types round the world have combined into a Trump like mess where visas are seen as yet another profit centre to be milked for all it can be. The USA irritation service used to be a brooding threatening background baleful influence, now they are an all threatening doom force to be avoided at all costs.

    After that we went to India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Hong, Japan, Hawaii, various continental European points and all with no visa problems, a British passport and a visa stamp at the entry port was all it took. Since then the Balkanisation, terrorists and money grubbers have ruined it for everyone

    The last time we went as a family it was to Canada and a more friendly welcoming bunch it would be hard to find, visas were easy, though the details of what was needed from 20 years back elude me now. Our eldest went with her family a year or two back and though she was worried rigid about making an error with the paperwork, her concerns resulting in hours of research were brushed aside over previous visit dates etc. Even her place of birth, Japan not lining up with nationality caused no concern at all and they all had a great time.

    Now, I take the line that if a place wants to come the acid drop I do not want to visit and I have no interest in spending my money with them. As for changing passports why would I bother? I have been there, seen that and watched their grass grow, along with the weeds.

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    #26254

    Les.
    Participant
    @oldles
    Forumite Points: 245

    And yet another twist! Shortly after I logged off on Thursday , I got a skype call to say she was in Toronto, and no problems. She settled in for her 15 hr wait, and in the early hours of Friday (BST) took off, landing at Manchester late morning yesterday. At midday I get a text to voice message on the landline speaking of a cancellation, but I was uncertain of which flight. Was it the one from Toronto, or the one back to the island. I switched on PC to see what I could find, when the phone rang. Her Granddaughter had a call saying Tamara’s phone was almost out of available money, and could I put some on it.

    As I did that, another call, her daughter saying she would get a free meal, taxi to Liverpool, and a ticket for a later flight.

    Money added to card, I get a call from Tamara, almost in tears, Really done for by then, with this extra confusion so I do my best to calm her down.

    Her flight from Liverpool is scheduled for 20:10 hrs, so at about 19:50, I am just thinking of getting ready to go to collect her when the phone rings again. Tamara is now in the departure lounge, but not very happy. Arriving at the check in, she is told her ticket is wrong. It is not her name on the ticket she was issued with. “That is what they gave me in Manchester.” Yes, but you should have checked it!   –  That was too much, and she burst into tears saying “I have been at airports for 30 hours, I just want my home”. I have not go clarity of actual procedure, but eventually she was let thro’, and I collected her a little after nine pm. She is just getting back to normality now, thank goodness.

    Les.

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    #26260

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,561

    Glad it turned out OK in the end even if the end felt too hard fought for both of you.

    I have all I can take of those animal hostile cattle stations also known as airports. After previous ‘experiences I vowed that my last visit to hell sorry and air trip would be my last, the plane was pretty unpleasant bu the ground experience was the pits. I said I would go on a cruise given enough of a push but I suspect that insurance would now put that out of reach, too many problems for the insurers to think about.

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    #26273

    johnbarry
    Participant
    @johnbarry
    Forumite Points: 1,431

    What a nightmare you had.

    Was it worth it in the end?

    Will the halfa sister be over here next time?

    Cheers
    John

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    #26299

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 2,126

    I feel for you and Tamara, Les.

    During my last air travel experience in 2015, we experienced the highs and lows of two European airports. The high was Vienna, where staff were friendly, courteous and on seeing my limited walking ability, a lady airport worker put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me out, complete with cases, to the coach. Also at Vienna, I had a printed letter from my GP which listed my medication, some of which was carried in the correct bottles, and my Stoma pouch kit. This was quickly read, checked and passed on.

    The Low, was Munich, a city I had known fairly well during my time in BAOR, travelled there quite often, loved the people and the place. Unfortunately that impression was ruined by a female Gauleiter of an airport security drone, who refused to read the letter, stripped out all my medical equipment and medication and left me to reassemble it all. I was determined to demonstrate complete British Bulldog Spirit at this and protested loudly in my fluent German at this treatment, until a supervisor heard and investigated. I explained (calmly) that his security officer had portrayed an example of the worst way to treat a disabled traveler and was a poor representative of his airport, his city and his country. I also told him that she had refused to read my letter regarding medical issues and equipment. He apologised, made her reassemble my bags under my supervision (“No it goes HERE like that!”) and was last seen as we departed, leading the Gauleiter away into an office.

    The Outer and Inner airport for this trip, a Danube river cruise, was Heathrow. All I can say about that, was that I will use any other UK airport if I am to travel by air again.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #26300

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,561

    The Outer and Inner airport for this trip, a Danube river cruise, was Heathrow. All I can say about that, was that I will use any other UK airport if I am to travel by air again.

    That one is so god -damned awful I refer to it as the Gobi Desert airport. Awful to get to and worse to use. I will never use it again. Southampton port was a wonderful contrast, easy access and human operatives, wonderful.

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