An experience John McGarry describes as “19 days of hell” could’ve been entirely avoided, if only the travel agent he used to book his cruise hadn’t have been so careless.
While booking the cruise with Cresta World Travel, Mr McGarry had accepted when his travel agent offered to fill in his security application for him, which is required by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Unfortunately, his agent must not have been paying attention, as when a question asked “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?” the agent checked “Yes”, which led to catastrophic results for Mr McGarry’s cruise.
To obtain his visa, Mr McGarry had to travel from his home in Greater Manchester to the US embassy in London multiple times, where he was interviewed, quizzed and fingerprinted.
The US embassy quickly understood that a mistake had been made, telling John he’s been given a “raw deal”. Even so, the interviews and questions had to be performed regardless.
As if that hadn’t already put a downer on what should’ve been a wonderful cruise, when the ship finally arrived in New York Mr McGarry was escorted off by police and grilled because of his “terror” links – in front of fellow passengers.
The officers relented and let him go eventually, after speaking with the embassy, but the damage had already been done.
Mr McGarry was even ostracised by friends he had made earlier on in the cruise thanks to the visible actions of the authorities, and cruise passengers shunned him for the remaining 19 days of his 26 day cruise.
Mr McGarry was understandably upset by the whole situation, saying; ”The cruise was ruined for me – no-one would come near me, it was like I had the plague. I had to go down to the American Embassy like a criminal and then I had 19 days of hell – it wasn’t necessary, all they had to do was tick the right box. It has caused a lot of trouble and ill-feeling.”
As you would imagine, Mr McGarry immediately made a complaint to Cresta World Travel upon his return, but what they replied with insulted him further.
“They sent me a £150 voucher off another holiday with them” said an appalled Mr McGarry. “I sent it right back – I don’t want anything to do with them.”
What do you think of MrMcGarry’s plight? What would your reaction be if your travel agent had reported you for terrorism?
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