Ethiopian Airlines bumped asylee relatives

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May 1, 2018
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#1
My name is Ibrahima Maiga, I am a francophone refugee journalist in the United States since 2014. Following incidents related to my work as a journalist I had to settle in the United States where I received asylum a few weeks after my arrival. Following my acceptance, I applied for my children (6 and 4 years) to join me for security reasons. After obtaining a V92 visa for them in November 2017, I worked to save, to pay for their plane tickets so that they could join me because their visas expired in early March 2018. Given the age of my children I bought one-way tickets (since they had immigrant visas) and a round-trip ticket for an adult in possession of a valid tourist visa to come with them. Tickets bought from Ethiopian Airlines, I was waiting for my children since they took off from Ouagadougou airport in Burkina Faso on February 11, 2018 to arrive normally the next day after a transit in Addis Ababa. The next day instead of receiving my children, it was a call from the adult who informed me that they had returned to Burkina Faso after being bumped from the plane in Addis. Surprised by this situation, I immediately called the company who told me that my children did not have the appropriate document to travel with a one-way ticket. This assertion was false, and I demanded a refund of my expenses and the customer service lady referred me to the Ouagadougou agency. I contacted the director of the agency in Ouagadougou who in addition to not having an answer for me, filter my number to no longer receive my calls. From there I went to complain on their site and never received an answer. Not satisfied with the situation, but given the time limit, I took a Loan with Affirm to buy tickets to a neighboring country of Burkina Faso and one-way tickets from this country for my children. We arrived in the United States on February 20th with Royal Air Morocco. I contacted the US Department of Transportation to complain. DOT, transfer my complaint to Ethiopian and require them to reply within 60 days. Without understanding why, the company never responded to DOT. My children suffered unprecedented trauma and risk to never arrived in the USA because of their return. In Burkina their passports were detained by the police. I had to use my relationships to get them back and have them cross the border secretly, so I could travel with them. This situation is not only a lack of respect for the client that I am, but it is a violation of the laws of the United States to declare invalid a document issued by the US Government. My story can and must be used to take steps to put an end to this discrimination. If my children had an American passport that would never happen. I am willing to provide any document and / or information completing my stories.
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
Demanding that your will be done is not a good way to negotiate a positive solution. The tone of your post says "lawyer" to me, and probably nobody will respond, except this forum. Since you've filed with DOT, I am hoping for a good resolution to the issue. I am very happy that your children are now with you in the US. Any trauma that they experienced will hopefully be handled by time and their joy at being reunited with their parent. Please let us know the outcome.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Aug 29, 2015
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#4
Your children will recover, unless you harp on it and tell them not to. Children are resilient. I have students who escaped all kinds of issues, and made it here to the US, and they have become well adjusted because their parents emphasized working hard and making a good life.

As for lack of respect, declining to transport, etc, companies no longer respect people. Just a fact. You were not there to know exactly why your children could not travel, and it is entirely possible that the airline didn’t see some document they were looking for. After all, traveling with two children without both parents could easily be considered human trafficking.

We are glad you are together as a family now.