ON July 26, my son booked a Virgin Atlantic flight from Lahore to Boston through a travel agency for Aug 23. When he reached the counter to get his boarding card, he was told there that he could not fly to the United States since his transit was at the Heathrow in London, and the United Kingdom was on the red list of the US.

One cannot imagine the anguish that he had to undergo for at least two hours despite having all the required documents. The pertinent question is: why did this happen at the last minute and who is responsible?

When the airline was contacted, the staff told him that the local representatives at the Lahore airport had reported his name as a ‘no show’, and since he had booked his flight through a travel agent, the airline could not deal with him directly. Besides, he was not entitled to any refund or travel voucher.

It is more than obvious that airlines operating out of Pakistan do not apply the same rules as they do in the developed world, and passengers here have no rights. The airline concerned failed to inform the travel agency about the pre-conditions of the travel and afterwards took no respon-sibility. The uncooperative behaviour of the airline was rather strange.

Dr Shurjeel Malik
Faisalabad

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2021

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