5 On Your Side

Plans For Caribbean Trip Prove Troublesome For Wake Forest Woman

Posted January 26, 2006

— Flying has not been the same since Sept. 11. There's more security and stricter rules, but some confusion about what documentation you need to fly put a Wake County woman's trip on hold. When she couldn't get the compensation she thought she should get, she called Five On Your Side.

Donna Yost's plan was to have a mom/daughter week in the Bahamas full of sun and sand.

"It was just really exciting. We were really excited. I was excited to be able to take my daughter on a special trip," she said.

Yost, her 16-year-old daughter, Katie, Katie's best friend and her mom were all supposed to fly out of Charlotte last Memorial Day weekend. However at the airport, a U.S. Airways agent told Yost her hospital-issued birth certificate would not fly, saying the Bahamas no longer accept it as identification.

After exhausting debates with several agents and supervisors, Yost was not allowed to fly.

"She was crying, and I was crying and it was just devastating," she said.

Reluctantly, Yost had her daughter and their friends go without her.

"It was going to be so special, a memory that she would never forget," Yost said.

Being a holiday, Yost could not call the Bahamian Embassy until the following Tuesday. When she did, she was told the birth certificate was fine. After more debates with U.S. Airways -- both in Raleigh and in Charlotte -- Yost was allowed to fly to the Bahamas four days late.

"It was a breath of fresh air, finally," she said.

After getting to enjoy only 2½ days on the island, Yost wrote a letter to U.S. Airways. The airline sent a $200 voucher. Yost calls that a slap in the face.

"They ruined our, you know, our vacation that we had planned and it was unnecessary," she said.

Yost called Five On Your Side, who called U.S. Airways. A representative called Yost and agreed to send vouchers covering the entire cost of her two tickets -- almost $900.

Five On Your Side says if you are travelling out of the country, it is best to have a passport. In fact, by the end of this year, you have to have it for air travel to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico and Canada. Until then, a birth certificate is still allowed for entry into those countries, but you risk a hassle like what Yost went through.


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