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Missing a flight thanks to a broken printer — reader mistake story

March 07, 2022
4 min read
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A seemingly infinite number of things can go wrong during travel. Thankfully, travelers can easily avoid some of these unfortunate situations with a bit of preparation, and others appear bewilderingly predestined.

No matter which end of the spectrum your ordeal falls on, it's informative, instructive and often entertaining to swap stories within the travel community.

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This week's reader mistake story comes from reader Ryan Patterson, who missed a flight to a soon to reopen Vietnam because of a mishap with his visa:

“I was traveling from the Maldives through the Pacific Rim and into Europe on a 14-stop round-the-world adventure. I strategically chose my routes to fly as many 747 aircraft as possible.
I got a visa for Vietnam — but apparently, I needed a passport photo that was printed out. Bangkok airport (BKK) supposedly had printers available but had ran out of paper. I had to get from BKK to Seoul (ICN) to avoid missing my next award flight to Frankfurt.
I had to pay $400 for a last-minute seat to ICN. Luckily, I got a window and actually secured a seat on the Star Alliance 747-400 aircraft with Thai Airways.
I lost 25,000 points and $400. Not too bad — but not ideal.”

TPG disaster classification: Really bad luck (but avoidable)

Americans need a visa to visit Vietnam. (Photo by Mongkol Chuewong/Getty Images)

The fact that Ryan tried to prepare by researching and obtaining the proper visas only to be turned away at departures is heartbreaking — especially when the only thing separating him from his airplane seat was a printer that "ran out of paper."

Frequent travelers may know that bringing multiple copies of things like visa photos, scanned passports and driver's licenses, medication forms, etc., can come in handy when on the road. Just a few small papers take up almost zero room in your travel bag, and you won't even notice they're there until you need them.

Discount retail stores and warehouses usually offer to take visa photos for a nominal fee. In some cases, you can even take them yourself and print them from home if you're confident in your ability to produce a compliant photo. Some countries (many, nowadays) accept electronic visas for certain travel. Check the rules and requirements before and during your trip.

Related: The best credit cards with travel insurance in 2022

It's extra important to be ready for pitfalls when booking an exciting round-the-world award ticket like Ryan. That's because airlines will void your remaining itinerary if you are a no-show to one of your flights. Ryan told us that his entire itinerary spanned five continents; missing a flight anywhere along this bucket-list trip could have ruined the remainder of the journey — causing hundreds of thousands of points or thousands of dollars to be forfeited.

If you're thinking of a similar trip, it's best to build your itinerary with lots of time for blunders. Ensure that you'll be at the city of your next flight at least a day before takeoff.

Some of us (myself included) even prefer to book one-way tickets on simple round-trip domestic flights, just in case disaster strikes, and we don't make our outbound flight. That way, only half of our itinerary is lost if we miss the first flight.

Related: Why I (almost) always book one-way flights

Thanks for sharing this story with TPG readers, Ryan!

Please email us if you'd like to be featured in our weekly TPG reader mistake story. You'll receive a $25 gift card if we publish your story!

Feature photo by Tetra Images/Getty Images.

Featured image by (Photo by Tetra Images/Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases