These are not the words you want to hear from a ticket agent at the airport 3 hours before your flight leaves. At this point we are in the mode that we have clothes, a credit card and some Euros; We should be able to handle any problems. According to the ticket agent what we didn’t have was a Visa.
This is something Brent checked, Visas are not required for our trip. But according to the airline computer our stay in Budapest appeared to exceed a 90 day threshold. They could not let us go without a Visa. We explained that our flight was in and out of Budapest but we were going to travel around. We had Eurail tickets and lodging confirmations in different countries. This did not sway the ticket agent, A round trip ticket evidently meant we were staying in that country for the duration.
We asked about a speedy Visa and they let us know we would need to go downtown for that. This was not helpful information. In my mind I was getting ready for a fight with Delta to change the ticket dates to meet the 90 day threshold. This is really something that should have been brought up when we purchased the tickets or when we remotely checked in from the hotel last night.
The agent did understand our predicament and called “JFK”. I don’t know who or what that meant but they reached “Abby” in “documents”. There were explanations and words and then they let us know everything was fine.
The real threshold for a Visa is 180 days. They just set their computer to flag it at 90 days. That is just ridiculous. What if we had an agent who didn’t know to call JFK or Abby? And what if we had been the kind of people who didn’t push back? Why manufacture drama like this?
Now for a most uncomfortable night sleep on a plane with a good book about Budapest by my Internet travel boyfriend, Rick Steves. Did I mention our flight was delayed? They didn’t bother to delay it until after we were trapped behind security.
And am I the only one who goes through security completely convinced I am going to have some sort of contraband? My heart races, I get the shakes and if they ask me a question, even my name, I fall apart. My sister witnessed this phenomena in Tanzania when they asked me why I was there- I could not form a coherent sentence or even remember the existence of the word “vacation”. I believe I told them I was there as a “gift”. Thats not a suspicious thing to say at all. But the trip had been a gift to me and that was the only word my brain could conjure up.