ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Confusion over coronavirus doctor's note ruins Bay Area couple's vacation

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Couple denied travel without doctor's note amid coronavirus fears
A Bay Area couple was turned away at San Francisco International Airport for lack of a doctor's note clearing them of coronavirus symptoms.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area couple was turned away at San Francisco International Airport for lack of a doctor's note clearing them of coronavirus symptoms.

Will Escobar wanted to surprise his girlfriend Stephanie Lui with a trip to Tahiti for her 30th birthday, but the real surprise came when the couple arrived at the airport.

"They told us that we were not able to board the plane," said Escobar.

French Bee Airline tells the I-Team it sent an email to passengers two days prior to the flight letting them know if they had been to a country listed since January, they would need a health certificate clearing them of coronavirus symptoms in order to board the flight.

The couple had recently been to Vietnam, a country on the list.

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Without a doctor's note, they couldn't board.

"It really just broke my heart seeing him go through that frustration and being turned away at the ticket counter," said Lui.

The couple was now out the cost of the flight and two nights' stay.

"Just heartbroken as well, because this was a present that I wanted to present to my girlfriend and it felt like it was just taken away," said Escobar.

The I-Team reached out to French Bee Airline.

A spokesperson confirms an email was sent but not to the email address Escobar had provided when he booked the flight.

The spokesperson writes, "...unfortunately, when French Bee sent out the coronavirus information email displaying the flight restrictions, it was not received by them..."

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French Bee suspects the email may have gone to Kiwi, the third party booking agency Escobar used to book the flight.

Initially, a Kiwi representative told the couple because they didn't cancel their flight after being turned away at the airport, they were tagged as "no shows" with the airline. No show - no refund, until the I-Team got involved.

Both French Bee and Kiwi now say they will refund the couple's flight or allow them to rebook it.

"We are very sorry about the disturbance to their journey and are working on finding an alternative travel date or processing a refund," Kiwi said.

French Bee responded, "Please note the customers will have no issue and will be entitled to a full refund."

"A lot of weight off our shoulders," said Escobar.

It's still not clear what happened.

"Double check on the destination where you're going if there's any new restrictions that popped up because it's been changing a lot," said Lui.

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It's also not clear if it happened to other travelers who also booked with a third party site.

The hotel where the couple planned to stay the first night has agreed to provide them with a voucher. The I-TEAM also reached out to which is how the couple booked their second night's stay. They have also agreed to provide the couple with a refund.

Take a look at for a look at more stories by Dan Noyes and the ABC7 News I-Team.