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Coronavirus travel screening leads to long lines, missed flight for Colorado traveler

Posted: 4:15 PM, Feb 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-26 20:34:36-05
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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- The coronavirus is causing a ripple effect for international travelers, and a Colorado woman believes the screening process caused her to miss her flight due to long lines.

"The first thing you encounter is, if you have come from anywhere that has the coronavirus, you need to go off into this line and that line was huge," said Kiersten Ridgel.

Ridgel was traveling to India for a friend's wedding. She didn't have to go through the screening because she was coming from the U.S. but she said it created a nightmare situation when she tried to go through customs.

She said a plane full of people wearing masks arrived around the same time and officials began separating the crowd based on their country of origin. She said the process took time and then she still had to go through customs.

"So the whole time I’m checking my watch going, 'I’m going to miss my flight,'" said Ridgel.

She said the entire ordeal took more than two hours and she missed her connecting flight. Ridgel scrambled to book a new flight so she could get to her friend's wedding in time. After the wedding, she received another email saying her reservation had changed.

"Sure enough they said, 'Oh yeah, it’s been canceled, you’re not getting a refund and have a nice day,'" said Ridgel. "I was stuck in India with no return flights, no way to get home."

Ridgel believes the flight that she missed due to that long line at customs caused her other flights to be canceled. She reached out to Contact7 after she attempted to get a refund with no luck. Contact7 reached out to Priceline and Lufthansa and they told us they are looking into her case.

"So somehow, I am getting blamed for the coronavirus and for customs taking much longer than it should and because of that I’m out $1,200 for buying a new flight and somehow getting home," said Ridgel.

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