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Have your paperwork ready before you fly

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By Christoper Elliott
Syndicated Columnist
Question: I'm an Indian national residing in the United States. I was scheduled to fly from Houston to Mumbai on British Airways recently. My itinerary involved a short stopover in London.
In Houston, while checking in with British Airways, I was denied boarding because my work visa was not stamped in my passport. The original visa stamped in my passport had expired, and I was traveling to India in order to get my renewed visa stamped at the U.S. consulate in Mumbai.
I was carrying an application that permits me to continue living and working legally in the U.S. and to travel abroad. However, before re-entering the U.S., I'm required to obtain a valid U.S. visa stamp in my passport.
I tried my best to explain this to the check-in agent; however, she was adamant in not allowing me to transit through London. This was a Catch-22 situation for me -- I could not go to India without my visa stamped in my passport, and I could not get my visa stamped unless I visited the consulate in India.
The British Airways check-in staff was very unhelpful. Can you help me?
Mita Upadhyay, Corpus Christi, Texas
Answer: British Airways should have made its travel policies regarding visas crystal clear to you. I checked with the airline, and it insists it did.
"There are links on that allow passengers to check their passport and visa requirements for their journey, " a British Airways spokeswoamn said.
Given your predicament, it would have been a nice gesture to reroute you on a flight that didn't require a stopover in London.
Unfortunately, having all your paperwork in order is your responsibility.
Still, British Airways offered a refund of $125 and a $600 flight credit.
You can email Christopher Elliott at
© 2012 Christopher Elliott/ Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Story tags » Air travelTravel

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