Expat RT Ticket Jam: Solution?

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Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)
Hello All,

I hope you are safe and happy.

I have now encountered the same problem two times and I'm ISO the most efficient and simple solution, if one exists. This post is a followup to another post but more focused, so I am starting a new post.

I am a U.S. citizen living permanently in the D.R. I do not have a legal residency status. Recently, I was in Berlin with a RT ticket, four flights, from BER to SDQ (Las Americas) via two transfer flights in the U.S. In Berlin, in spite of the fact that I had paid for tickets and a legitimate passport, I was refused boarding and refused boarding passes unless: a. I could produce a D.R. residency permit, OR, b. my final travel destination was in the U.S. (it was not). Since I don't have residency status, I was told that I had to buy a ticket to the U.S. The consequences of doing this would be: 1. I would miss all my flights, 2. I'd have to buy a ticket with a U.S. airport code EVEN THOUGH I HAD NO INTENTION OF FLYING THERE, 3. possibly I would lose this $500.00 or so (no refunds on econ. ticket).

So I raised hell, made a big scene, got real loud, drew everyones' attention. The staff person left her desk, conferred with other staff, and retured with my four boarding passes, telling me that when I arrived in the U.S. for my transfer flight, that I was subject to being returned to Germany. When I did return, I had my boarding passes, when to the various gates (two flights in the U.S.) and there were no issues.

This same big blow-up happened to me a couple years ago and will probably happen again.

I have gone to migracion.gob.do and looked at the requirements for temporary and permanent residency. That is a MUCH BIGGER deal than the problem I'm indicating here and way over-kill for a solution.

Soon my wife and I will be flying to Medellin, Colombia. My RT ticket will not include the U.S. as a final destination for the obvious reason that I don't live there. So, here comes, round three, another possible blowup?

I can't think of any solution to this problem except to fight my way out of it on the spot. That's a lot of stress and I'd rather go "legitimate." But if "legitimate" means the terrific hassle of procuring a residency permit to solve this single, occassional problem, that's not a solution for me: "The cure is worse than the disease."

Has anyone found a workarouond for this problem that's better than a temper tantrum? My temper tantrums have been successful thus far but I don't relish this confrontation.
 

beeza

Silver
Nov 2, 2006
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It is the airline's responsibility to repatriate a traveller who arrives in a country without the correct documentation. So if you don't have the correct documents in place for the country you are travelling to, you can legitimately be refused boarding. This is not an immigration policy, but an airline policy. I had a similar issue in Frankfurt when the check-in staff at my connection didn't recognise that my plastic Dominican residency card was actually my permission to board without a return ticket. It took a supervisor to override their system and I nearly missed my flight.

How can the airline know you do not intend to stay in a country you don't have legal status to remain in? You must provide proof and that is either a return ticket or permission to stay in the form of a visa or residency document. If you don't and you are refused entry at your destination country, you do not pass go and you have to fly back on the same plane you arrived on - at the airline's expense.

One way to circumvent this is to buy a fully refundable or open return ticket in advance. These cost more, but when you cancel the return portion, you get your money back.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
814
97
48
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retired English teacher (30 years)
It is the airline's responsibility to repatriate a traveller who arrives in a country without the correct documentation. So if you don't have the correct documents in place for the country you are travelling to, you can legitimately be refused boarding. This is not an immigration policy, but an airline policy. I had a similar issue in Frankfurt when the check-in staff at my connection didn't recognise that my plastic Dominican residency card was actually my permission to board without a return ticket. It took a supervisor to override their system and I nearly missed my flight.

How can the airline know you do not intend to stay in a country you don't have legal status to remain in? You must provide proof and that is either a return ticket or permission to stay in the form of a visa or residency document. If you don't and you are refused entry at your destination country, you do not pass go and you have to fly back on the same plane you arrived on - at the airline's expense.

One way to circumvent this is to buy a fully refundable or open return ticket in advance. These cost more, but when you cancel the return portion, you get your money back.
One way to circumvent this is to buy a fully refundable or open return ticket in advance. These cost more, but when you cancel the return portion, you get your money back. I'll get to your solution in a moment.

I understand the airline's rationale for their procedure/requirement. Unfortunately, it is a "one size fits all" that does not fit my situation. The reality of my situation is that I can live legally in the D.R. for ten years without legal residency status, then pay an overstay tax (for ten years) when I leave. LOL! So much for "legal" status. The reality is far different, in this case, from what the airport agent might assume.

O.K. I'm trying to understand your solution as it is one I have never tried before. Let me think this through and get your input. Suppose I'm in BER want to return to SDQ without boarding issues. I then buy a no refund economy ticket BER to SDQ. Then I select the cheapest flight I can find from SDQ to the U.S., for example, MIA (Miami) and then purchase a separate ticket SDQ < MIA that is refundable. Of course, I also have to read the TOS to understand refunding limitations and procedure. When the agent in BER sees my ticket to MIA, I'm issued boarding passes BER < SDQ < MIA. I disembark in SDQ, my actual final destination, do NOT board the MIA flight and receive a refund for that ticket. Right away I see a "Gotcha." Suppose my MIA flight leaves one hour after I arrive in SDQ. In this very short time frame I can legitimtely cancel and receive refund? That's the million dollar question.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
814
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retired English teacher (30 years)
One way to circumvent this is to buy a fully refundable or open return ticket in advance. These cost more, but when you cancel the return portion, you get your money back. I'll get to your solution in a moment.

I understand the airline's rationale for their procedure/requirement. Unfortunately, it is a "one size fits all" that does not fit my situation. The reality of my situation is that I can live legally in the D.R. for ten years without legal residency status, then pay an overstay tax (for ten years) when I leave. LOL! So much for "legal" status. The reality is far different, in this case, from what the airport agent might assume.

O.K. I'm trying to understand your solution as it is one I have never tried before. Let me think this through and get your input. Suppose I'm in BER want to return to SDQ without boarding issues. I then buy a no refund economy ticket BER to SDQ. Then I select the cheapest flight I can find from SDQ to the U.S., for example, MIA (Miami) and then purchase a separate ticket SDQ < MIA that is refundable. Of course, I also have to read the TOS to understand refunding limitations and procedure. When the agent in BER sees my ticket to MIA, I'm issued boarding passes BER < SDQ < MIA. I disembark in SDQ, my actual final destination, do NOT board the MIA flight and receive a refund for that ticket. Right away I see a "Gotcha." Suppose my MIA flight leaves one hour after I arrive in SDQ. In this very short time frame I can legitimtely cancel and receive refund? That's the million dollar question.
Another question on your solution: What is an open return ticket?
 

Seamonkey

Bronze
Oct 6, 2009
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Simple solution. Become a legal resident of the DR if you live here and you will never have a return ticket problem again.
 
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SKY

Gold
Apr 11, 2004
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Well then that is the solution.....to just deal with it. Hopefully, someday people like him will be deported as he is an illegal alien.
You can hope all you want. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN...................
 

rogerjac

Bronze
Feb 9, 2012
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Thanks and I will vet this. But is it legitimate or in a grey area?
It worked for me. The confirmation ticket they send you is verifiable so if the airline agent decides to see if is legit it will apear in the system.
 

DRdreaming

Member
Jul 29, 2014
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Here is what I have done.
Book a flight just before arriving at the airport for your flight to DR. Cancel within 24 hours of booking, and if it is a US airline, it is refundable to your original form of payment. So cancel as soon as you arrive in DR. I have also printed a copy of my confirmation, and immediately canceled the ticket. As long as it is a different airline than the one you are using to fly to DR, you can just show the printed confirmation with no issue. They usually just ask the date of your return ticket to note in the system, and don't even look at the paper. .
 

malko

Campesino !! :)
Jan 12, 2013
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Years ago--- like maybe 12 years ago--- i had a similar problem.
Thankfuly the issue arrised a day before boarding ( i check my luggage in 24 h before flight ).
I phoned the DR embassy in Paris, explained my problem, and they swiftly emailed me a letter saying Mr XXXx is more than welcome to visit the DR and stay as long as he wished, thank you very much.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)

I used this recently and it works. 12 bucks and no headaches
Thanks. I looked at the website. I feel very iffy about it. No address, no contact information independently of the site--a "hidden" site on the web with no accountability. They claim that you receive an actual and legal ticket. If that's true, could I then obtain a boarding pass at the ticket counter and take that flight for 12 bucks?? I don't think so. Then it's not legitimate. And if I could, why are people not lining up for 12 dollar flights? I'm not saying that site is not a solution, just that I feel uncomfortable with it.

What I find strange about this problem is that on the two occassions when I was denied boarding, staff were adamant as in "No way in hell are you boarding unless you buy or show a ticket to the U.S." But when I fussed, in both cases, they changed their minds and gave me the boarding passes they said they could not give me. So adamant or not adamant. Very weird.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
814
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retired English teacher (30 years)
Well then that is the solution.....to just deal with it. Hopefully, someday people like him will be deported as he is an illegal alien.
Well then that is the solution.....to just deal with it. Hopefully, someday people like him will be deported as he is an illegal alien. LOL! Palpable BS. A. There is no requirement that I appy for residency status when I am here as a tourist. Any police or immigration or stops me in the D.R. requires no more than a valid passport for the purpose of identification. I can "reside" here as long as I want with no legal issues. If I want to leave the country, I pay the overstay fee based on my last passport entry date. Right or wrong?
 

Northern Coast Diver

Private Scuba Guide
Feb 23, 2020
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Sosua
OP said he would rather deal with the issues than be legal. And so it goes.

Well then that is the solution.....to just deal with it. Hopefully, someday people like him will be deported as he is an illegal alien. LOL! Palpable BS. A. There is no requirement that I appy for residency status when I am here as a tourist. Any police or immigration or stops me in the D.R. requires no more than a valid passport for the purpose of identification. I can "reside" here as long as I want with no legal issues. If I want to leave the country, I pay the overstay fee based on my last passport entry date. Right or wrong?
There are good reasons that 5% of foreigners have 95% of the problems here. Carry on!!
 
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