Philippine Airlines is facing major issues currently as the US Customs Visa waiver Agreement has expired. This has a huge implication as the expiration prevents passengers from traveling on this program.
Philippine Airlines & US Customs Visa Waiver Agreement Expires
Philippine Airlines is in partial meltdown as the airline has to cancel a huge number of passengers traveling to the US using the visa waiver program, mostly known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
It appears that foreign passengers who are traveling on ESTA to the US are being notified by the airline that they will be denied boarding.
The frustrating thing is that there is no official announcement made but on the airline’s visa waiver program section, there is a small note saying:
NOTE:Philippine Airlines’ application for renewal of the required carrier agreement with the US Customs Boarder Protection is currently in process. We are temporarily unable to accept non-immigrant visitors to the US under the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP)pursuant to Title 8, U.S.C. § 1187(a)(5).
This is quite a huge issue when it comes to smooth operation. I mean, the airline surely knows the visa waiver program will be expiring but they are still doing the renewal process. Recently, we have seen some airlines failing to renew contracts or find new contracts at the last minute when it comes to catering.
Doing things last minute is considered very risky when it comes to carrying passengers in and out of the country as it can affect the whole trip. While you can still fly without proper catering, however, an airline not being able to verify non-immigrant visas on the system is a major problem.
Philippine Airlines Offering Compensation & Rebooking Option
If you are impacted by this ridiculous situation, Philippine Airlines is currently offering cash compensation and rebooking options with other carriers. My guess is that passengers will be rebooked to United and other Asian carriers which the airline has an agreement with.
The majority of those who will be affected will be from 40 nationalities listed on ESTA’s website who do not have a “physical US visa” stamped on their passports.
Philippine Airlines is in meltdown after the carrier’s US visa waiver agreement expires. The airline is currently in the process of renewal but I don’t think this situation will be solved quickly.
This is causing the airline unable to accept passengers who aren’t US citizens or permanent residents and is now canceling their flights and rebooking to another carrier with cash compensation. If you are traveling to the US under the visa waiver program, make sure to double-check your itinerary and contact the airline for rebooking options.