Police Respond To Passenger Meltdown After Passport And Covid Test Refused At Check-In

Police response to nervous breakdown passenger after refusal of passport and Covid test at check-in.

Gary Leff is 20 years old. February 2021.

After American Airlines lost its partnership with LATAM to Delta, which took a stake in the South American mega-airline in 2019, it partnered with Brazilian airline Gol – Delta itself had previously partnered with LATAM, but broke it off for love of LATAM. It was like an episode of Soap.

If you want to go beyond American Airlines’ destinations in Brazil, you usually take an American Airlines flight to South America and connect with Gol at your final destination. A passenger attempted to take a flight from Gol to São Paulo on an American Airlines ticket on route
and ended up in the middle of the counter at Gol in São Luis, where an altercation with police occurred.

A passenger reported arriving at Marechal Cunha Machado International Airport 90 minutes before the flight’s 5:30 p.m. departure. They had two problems with the recording,

  • They had American passports, but the agent would not check them without a green card or other proof of residence.
  • The Covid 19 passenger antigen test, which had been performed 3 days before the trip, was not accepted.

The agent taps, makes a phone call, then asks me if I have proof of residence in the United States, for example. B. a green card. I look at him like… ? A US passport is more than sufficient to enter the United States. Even a Brazilian passenger sitting next to me like…. an American passport holder literally cannot have a green card. He goes in, makes a few more phone calls, comes back and doesn’t mention the green card again.

Then he asked me to take a COVID test. I give him my antigen test, which meets all CDC requirements approved three days ago. He leaves, makes a few phone calls and comes back and says I need a PCR test. I check the websites of the US Embassy, the CDC and the AA to show him that the antigen test is good.

Passenger Relays states that Agent Gol emphasizes that testing requirements vary from airline to airline and that the PCR test is a requirement of American Airlines. That is not the case, and the Americans confirm it.

That recording lasted 90 minutes. The airline agreed that the passenger was ready to leave, but the flight had already departed. And they couldn’t change a code-share ticket issued by American Airlines. That’s what he says: GOL employees are trying to charge me $2,800 and they are going to give me my money back and I am that stupid?

Gol’s office closes and says Please call tomorrow afternoon with reservations and an interline manager will be able to help you. Then the passenger made a scene – [sat] in the middle of his desk and refused to leave until he booked a return flight for me. They called the police and threw him out.

This passenger is still in Brazil, and even if he is rebooked, he will have to undergo a new Covid 19 test because the one he has will be too old to return to the United States with the tie he is currently wearing.

My idea would have been to ask Gol to check the passenger in Sao Paulo only, so there would be no sticker issues (Brazilian domestic flight, not a US airline or US entry requirements), but apparently he asked and they refused.

Airlines, especially third party airlines, make mistakes when they assume they know the rules when they are simply wrong and do not want to admit it in front of the evidence. But what really exacerbates the problem is Gol’s inability to figure out how to reissue a ticket to get the passenger home. They could have done it at their own expense, of course, but no one wanted to do it.

However, this story is an example of why I never want to take flight with code-share tickets if I can avoid it, because code-share arrangements unnecessarily complicate the booking service.

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