The Scotland-Based Couple’s Experiences Should Serve As A Cautionary Tale For Travelers
A British couple’s dream holiday was left in tatters after an immigration mistake left them separated on opposite ends of the Atlantic Ocean. The case highlights the discord often found between airlines and passengers.
Scott Kinghorn and Thallise Marciano had planned to spend a week enjoying the sun and sea in Cancun together. After forking out almost $3000 with popular carrier TUI, everything appeared to be going smoothly on their flight from Glasgow to the Mexican Caribbean. Neither of them could have anticipated what would happen next.
Upon arrival at Cancun International Airport, the couple found themselves separated as they moved through the immigration process. Scott, a British national, made it through smoothly and continued on to wait for his partner near the luggage collection area. When she didn’t appear after a lengthy period of time, he went back to investigate.
His partner Thallise, who is a Brazilian national living in the UK, had been pulled aside before making it to the immigration counter. Unbeknownst to her, Brazilians are required to apply for a visa to enter Mexico, unlike Brits, Americans, or Canadians, who can all receive a stay-on-arrival with no prerequisites.
Thallise was immediately informed that she would be sent home on the next flight to the UK, with no way of staying with her partner. Scott, now legally in Mexico, was prevented from going back to the holding area to help, and denied a place on the same flight as her.
To make matters more complicated, Scott was in possession of all the couple’s credit cards, cash, and even their house keys. Meaning Thallise was set to arrive back in Glasgow with no money and no way to get back into her own home.
Scott immediately began communicating with TUI in an attempt to get on a flight home as soon as possible. He’s since vented his frustration at the lack of help from the airline, who was allegedly only able to offer him a flight to Manchester, five hours from Glasgow, for an extra £400 ($520). The flight was only two days before his original flight, so he chose to stay the full length of his stay instead of losing the extra money.
He spent the rest of the week working out accommodation for Thallise from Mexico, booking her a hotel for two nights before getting his brother to leave a work trip early to pick her up. He ordered food using a delivery app for her, as she was still unable to purchase anything.
The couple is pushing to have the entire trip refunded, blaming TUI for the misunderstanding. They believe that the airline should have prevented the couple from making the booking or at least stopped Thallise from boarding on the day of the flight.
TUI have responded publicly, claiming that all customers who book flights with the company have agreed to their terms and conditions and are advised to check the immigration requirements for any country they are flying to.
A TUI representative stated “On this occasion, Mr Kinghorn booked his holiday online and agreed to our booking terms and conditions which outlines that customers are responsible for checking if a visa is required to enter their chosen destination”.
A frustrated Scott, said of the incident
“Thallise has anxiety and she had a panic attack on the flight home resulting in her needing medical attention.When she got back no family members were available at such short notice to collect her so I had to get her a hotel – entirely at our expense! All in all, I spent £2,500 on the holiday plus the extra costs of her accommodation in Scotland and takeouts I was forced to order her. I’ve since complained to Tui but they’re aftercare has been appalling – I can’t get through to speak to anyone”.
Anyone traveling to any country should always triple check the immigration requirements as they can change quickly.
With that said, arrivals in Cancun from most countries can now enjoy a fast-tracked entry process and an immediate 180 day stay in the country. Again, checking before departure is important, but most visitors don’t need to worry. Brazil is one of the country not eligible for this process.
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