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Jim in Cebu

US government evacuation rules – and fees

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Jim in Cebu
What should Americans expect from the US government if the government offers to evacuate them from calamity stricken areas?

 


 

-- begin article --

 

September 19, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Travelers airlifted from Los Cabos by U.S. gov’t must pay, but commercial airlines ran free flights

Posted by Kristin Jackson

 

Damage at Los Cabos airport from Hurricane Odile is shown in a photo released by Mexico officials. The airport remains closed except for relief flights.  (Juan Carlos Morales / Mexico Presidency photo )

 

Like thousands of other American tourists in Mexico’s hurricane-devastated Los Cabos, Joe Glass of Dallas lined up for hours Thursday outside the heavily damaged airport to get an emergency flight back to the United States.

 

But what made Glass really angry wasn’t the chaos or the all-day sweltering wait. It was hearing that U.S. consular officials at the airport were making people sign promissory notes to pay back the federal government $600 each if they flew a U.S-government-chartered plane out of Los Cabos.

 

“My wife and I got to the airport, there was just one huge line. It took six-and-a-half hours to get from the end of line into the airport building where they were processing people,” said Glass in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

 

“As we’re getting close to the front, we could see Canadian embassy people who pulled Canadians out of line, took them to the front. Got them on a plane. Somebody from Britain did the same. Then here comes a U.S. Embassy guy. Says we have four flights chartered in conjunction with commercial flights. We’ll take names, we’ll take the first 100 people who sign the $600 promissory note and we’ll get you out of Cabo.”

 

Glass was mad and wasn’t going to pay, having heard that United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and others were operating relief flights for no extra payment. He and his wife decided to wait for the next commercial-carrier flight since they were close to the front of the line, and got a United Airlines flight to Houston on Thursday evening. “We didn’t pay a dime. And we weren’t even United passengers. We flew down on Spirit Airlines.”

 

Why do U.S. citizens have to pay if the government evacuates them from overseas  disaster sites such as Los Cabos? A U.S. law requires it, mandating payment of the equivalent of a commercial airline coach fare – hence the promissory notes that some travelers encountered in Los Cabos. “A gal we knew from the hotel, she just wanted to get out and so she signed,” said Glass.

 

The government’s evacuation rules – and fees – are spelled out at the State Department’s website.

 

Yet commercial carriers  such as Seattle-based Alaska Airlines have been airlifting passengers out of Los Cabos this week  for no charge after the powerful hurricane struck Sunday night, heavily damaging some hotels, the airport and destroying many homes.

 

“Alaska Airlines is paying for it. We’re not charging. We’re taking care of our customers, but we’re also taking any passengers who are down there whether they are Alaska’s customers or other airlines’,” said Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan. (Passengers flying to the United States do have to be U.S. citizens.)

 

Most of Alaska’s flights from Los Cabos have gone to Los Angeles or San Diego.  (Mexican authorities closed Los Cabos airport Friday afternoon for repairs, saying all tourists had been evacuated.) Alaska will run some relief  flights this weekend to get out travelers who had made their way to Loreto, north of Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula, after the hurricane, said Egan. Alaska has flown out almost 2,000 people affected by the hurricane.

 

Meanwhile, tourist Glass is happy to back home in Texas. And very glad that United gave him a free ride.

-- end article -- 

 

Out of curiosity, I ran a Kayak search on Los Cabos to San Diego fares for a date several months out (2/11/16, where "normal" fares were still listed).  The cost?  7 out of the 9 airlines that serve Cabo had fares under $200.

 

The article didn't say what the destination of the government's $600 fares were, but Kayak showed fares to NYC, Orlando and Seattle for well under $300, Anchorage (Alaska) was less than $400, and Honolulu was less than $500.

 

--

 

[Note to moderators:  I'm not sure what category this fits in, so please move it if needed.  I'm posting this in the "Storm Damage, Assistance & Contact Threads" since it relates to assistance after natural calamities.]

Edited by Jim in Cebu

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smokey

No different then any other country when dealing with citizens living in another country always the rich expecting something for nothing and I thought I was a clown , on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 the worst this anti american thread is a solid 2

Edited by smokey
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RogerDat

Greetings! Off topic, but Smoky, is that " IT " you have as an avatar? I used to have nightmares about "IT".

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miles-high

For airlines, it’s a cost of great advertising/loyalty development program…

 

For the US Government, such cost will ultimately be borne by us the US citizens/legal residents who diligently pay the Federal taxes… so it is fair for the State Dept to charge fees…

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smokey

For airlines, it’s a cost of great advertising/loyalty development program…

 

For the US Government, such cost will ultimately be borne by us the US citizens/legal residents who diligently pay the Federal taxes… so it is fair for the State Dept to charge fees…

 

 

 

 

Maybe someone can tell us what assistance the other countries provided for their citizens in this disaster I have been there before and there are lots of other nationalities besides us

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thebob

 

 

Maybe someone can tell us what assistance the other countries provided for their citizens in this disaster I have been there before and there are lots of other nationalities besides us

 

 

 

“As we’re getting close to the front, we could see Canadian embassy people who pulled Canadians out of line, took them to the front. Got them on a plane. Somebody from Britain did the same. Then here comes a U.S. Embassy guy. Says we have four flights chartered in conjunction with commercial flights. We’ll take names, we’ll take the first 100 people who sign the $600 promissory note and we’ll get you out of Cabo.”   Glass was mad and wasn’t going to pay, having heard that United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and others were operating relief flights for no extra payment. He and his wife decided to wait for the next commercial-carrier flight since they were close to the front of the line, and got a United Airlines flight to Houston on Thursday evening. “We didn’t pay a dime. And we weren’t even United passengers. We flew down on Spirit Airlines.”

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miles-high

As we’re getting close to the front, we could see Canadian embassy people who pulled Canadians out of line, took them to the front. Got them on a plane. Somebody from Britain did the same.

 

It is not clear if either government charged the evacuees any fees or not...

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smokey

 

Tell the guy to book his own flight cheap ungrateful is what he is same old crap you leave your own country voluntary complain non stop about how bad they treated you and how smart you are to leave and spend your hard earned money in a country that respects you more then cry to the country you talk sht about to help you for free ,, he spends his money in mexico ask them to book your flight

Edited by smokey

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thebob

 

 

he spends his money in mexico ask them to book your flight

 

The Mexicans get into the US for free, it's US citizens who have to pay to return!

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smokey

The Mexicans get into the US for free, it's US citizens who have to pay to return!

 

 

 

Well why dont you tell the farmers to pick their own crops and you will pay whatever it cost at the grocery store I knew a lady that worked at Winchell dounuts 18 years never did a tax return but paid as a single even with 2 kids they took out ss but it was credited to someone else ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOUNBUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY

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Nangulo

 

 

For airlines, it’s a cost of great advertising/loyalty development program…

 

Not only that, they can write if off of their taxes.

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big RB

Shouldn't that be profiteering? The FBI needs to indict some of the Obama State Department in a few months, once this is over. See where the money went, and get them too.  

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