A Minor Scare

I booked my flight from LAX to Peru (by way or Atlanta) many months ago when Delta was offering a bargain basement price of $296.   Not bad for 10 hours of flying time! At no time did Delta indicate that I would require a visa to enter Peru, and I checked the Peruvian government’s web site several times to confirm this. Canadians do require a visa to enter Brazil, and I have one, but there were no such restrictions for visiting Peru.

You can imagine my surprise when I used a kiosk at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to print a boarding pass for the Atlanta to Peru leg of my journey and it came out looking like this:


Does the bold warning “INTL VISA RQD” mean what I think it means?

I immediately approached a Delta agent who checked her terminal and concluded that the notice was indeed correct and I would almost certainly be prohibited from boarding the flight.

Thoughts of flying back to Ottawa raced through my head. How quickly could I get a visa if I camped out on the doorstep of my MP’s office?

After a little more research the agent suggested that I take this up with a more senior Delta employee who just so happened to be nearby.

I rushed to find that gentlemen and waited patiently as he researched the visa requirement for Canadians in Peru. “The only way around it would be to purchase a return ticket to the US or Canada with travel falling within the six month window,” he concluded.

“What six month window?”, I asked.

“You don’t have a return ticket so obviously you are staying longer than six months,” replied Mr. Play-It-By-The-Book.

I’m not sure what form of logic he employed to reach that conclusion but thankfully he admitted that I would not require a visa to board the plane as I was in possession of an onward ticket on another airline. Delta assumes you are moving to a country if you purchase a one-way ticket even though you may have an exit ticket on another airline.  I would imagine that is rather common.  He did not.

In the end I was allowed to board the flight and the rest of the experience with Delta was first rate. I found their safety video to be quite humorous, the fight attendants were in a good mood, and the wi-fi actually worked as advertised, albeit only while in US airspace.

It could have been worse.  Much worse.

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