When airline attacks

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Jul 14, 2018
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#1
Last week I was not allowed to board to plane to Moscow via Aeroflot. I was cleared for destination which was Belarus, but somehow the need for a Russian transit visa didn't occur to me. In a calm voice I was told that my $5,000 worth of tickets were void. "But how?" "We deny dozens of passenger each day for same reason". So I went to Aeroflot kiosk just standing there playing with my phone, bombarding them with questions, like can I buy FIFA tickets maybe they let me on the flight? Nope. I press the record button on the iPhone, they all disappear so I just stand by myself. Next moment some guy comes in. So you start of nicely, and hit the brick wall. At this point you start mention courts and lawyers, they know these tricks and politely hand you the business card, you more than welcome to sue us. As you going in circles he enjoys watching your agony. Same iPhone pop ups and the regional manager is no longer that confident. "Take away your phone, it's against US laws to film without consent". This technique irritates cops and they all sing "it's illegal to film them" in youtube videos. He tells me he's going to break my phone, and I say that he can try. First he tries to rip it of with my arm, and than jumps on me and grabs it. He calls cops, we stand side by side waiting for them, 6 of them pop up he gets a warning and I leave with police report. At some point he mentioned that Aeroflot's site had this warning and checkboxes assuming I purchased tickets directly from airline, Expedia just sold me the tickets without terms and conditions. Minor mistake lead to loss of $5,000. Any advice would be welcomed
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Unfortunately, with any airline you are responsible for making sure you have proper documents when traveling. When you buy your own ticket, you act as your own travel agent and need to know all the rules of the country you are visiting.

Expedia states in their terms and conditions you need to verify you have proper documents. In addition before you checkout you also have to check off this information:

“By selecting to complete this booking I acknowledge that I have read and accept the above Rules & Restrictions, Terms of UseOpens in a new window.”

In that window you click on with rules it states this:

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet foreign entry requirements and that your travel documents, such as passports and visas (transit, business, tourist, and otherwise), are in order and any other foreign entry requirements are met. Expedia has no special knowledge regarding foreign entry requirements or travel documents. We urge customers to review travel prohibitions, warnings, announcements, and advisories issued by the relevant governments prior to booking travel to international destinations.

Passport and Visa: You must consult the relevant Embassy or Consulate for this information. Requirements may change and you should check for up-to-date information before booking and departure. We accept no liability if you are refused entry onto a flight or into any country due to your failure to carry the correct and adequate passport, visa, or other travel documents required by any airline, authority, or country, including countries you may just be transiting through. This includes all stops made by the aircraft, even if you do not leave the aircraft or airport.

Just because you can buy your own airline tickets doesn’t mean you should if you don’t know the rules of the countries you are traveling to.

And you are also very lucky you weren’t arrested at the airport with your actions. The airline and airport did nothing wrong.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
Um threatening to sue and airline for not allowing a passenger to board without proper authorization to travel to or through a country is not a viable tactic.

https://ru.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/russian-visas/

“Travelers intending to transit through Russia en route to a third country must have a Russian transit visa. Even travelers who are simply changing planes in Moscow or another international airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S. citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation at the traveler’s own expense.”

And thinking you can find a loophole by buying World Cup tickets?

And bombarding them with questions?

What was the point of trying to record them? Really what is the reason?

Do you realize that the US requires citizens of most countries to have either an ESTA or Visa to come to the US, even for transit? And airlines deny passengers to the US for the same reasons.

There are only two questions that the airline cares about with visas or ESTAs.

Does the passenger need one? Does the passenger have the appropriate valid one?

Trying to find unrealistic loopholes (FIFA tickets) threatening lawsuits, and trying to record them are tactics is a way to ensure that the airline extends no goodwill towards a passenger with credit or refund.

Expedia has all the appropriate disclaimers.
I do not see any recourse.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
You are a very lucky man, David. Your actions were dangerous to your person, I'm sorry to say. As my colleagues have stated, no airline will transport you without the required documentation. The fine leveled at them is well above the cost of your ticket. I suspect that you thought an online booking service was a travel agent and would give you all the information you needed. This is not the case. They book whatever you tell them to book. Even if you ask an agent, you rarely get an accurate answer. I'm glad you're not in jail.

You can certainly email Aeroflot to ask for a credit towards a future flight. It's possible that they have this service.
 
Jul 14, 2018
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#5
Well, I have to disagree with your colleagues, or they are misinformed: "Generally, in the U.S. video filming people who are in a public place without their consent (whether police or a private citizen), is 100% legal". What actions constituted any danger to myself or public? The guy popped out from his office, nobody followed him. Cops told me that I was harassed and they handed me over the case. There are zones like border control that have signs video taping, photography prohibited. You are more the welcome to judge situation yourself, just put @aeroflot in Twitter, the video is there, trending at the top.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,280
13,571
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
Regardless of filming or not, you didn’t have proper documents to fly and you aren’t due a refund of your tickets.

You asked how to get your money back- you can’t. You can try to write to Aeroflot and explain the situation, but I honestly see no hope of getting your money back. We have company contacts on top of our page. You can read how to write on the main page.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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#7
Write to Aeroflot and see if you can get some sort of credit for a future flight (if you are willing to fly them again)(and they are willing to let you fly them again after the airport incident).

And as much as possibly losing $5000 is not good, it is probably better then the alternative. If you have been on the flight, when you got to Moscow, you would have been illegally trying to enter Russia (no visa means illegal entry). Hopefully - best case - they would have just made you leave on the next flight. Not best case - you may have been "detained" for awhile (or worse).
 
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Jul 14, 2018
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#8
Thanks Neil. I appreciate your feedback. I'm lucky because I was able to flew out same night and still see my dying relative. We all humans and make mistakes, in the rush and stress this transit visa was apparently overlooked. I don't think I can force myself to write anything to them, and not losing sleep if they won't let me fly again. Actually they might not even be around anymore as crews are being denied US visas
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,280
13,571
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
David, it doesn’t hurt to write. We have seen many times a well written letter gets a no turned to a yes that we NEVER thought we’d see.

If you write, explain to them the situation- that you were trying to get to a dying relative and overlooked the transit Visa. Maybe they will give you a credit.

It never hurts to ask- you lose nothing. But don’t blame them or the agents at the airport. The airline can be fined if they let you fly without the proper documents and besides- Russia is NOT a country you want to mess with.

I hope that we’ve been able to explain why they did what they did.
 
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