JoKeR
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Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:19 am

With Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport now in its third day of complete closure due to extremely poor visibility (heavy freezing fog), roughly 70 Serbian nationals, all in transit – passengers of Olympic Airlines from various destinations like JNB and DXB, have been stuck in the transit zone for 72 hours because the Greek Government and the national airline have refused to grant them temporary visas to stay at the airport hotel. These poor souls have not slept in three days; many are traveling with infants and small children and arrived from intercontinental flights.

Serbian TV News have reported that the plea by the Serbian Ambassador in Athens has gone unanswered – he proposed to personally guarantee for the non-visa holders to stay at a nearby hotel. OA has announced that they will have to wait at least another 20 hours – tomorrow late afternoon, when they plan to operate a BEG flight – that’s if the weather improves.

I do understand that EU may have strict border controls but this is shameful and inhumane, considering unforeseen circumstances – force majeure – OA can expect some very harsh language from the Serbian traveling public and media in the coming weeks! Unforgivable.
 
Beaucaire
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:25 am

It all adds to the bad image Olympic has since many years...
The poor passengers will most definitely do their best to spread the word about the treatment they got!
So much about the solidarity among Greek-Serbian nationals...
Not that I dont like Greece- but their officials can become pretty much a pain in the a....
Please respect animals - don't eat them...
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:29 am

Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 1):
So much about the solidarity among Greek-Serbian nationals...

I think that solidairty among people, normal citizens is still high and strong, but the Greek official stance is simply shocking in this matter!
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:34 am

To add salt to injury, an eldery Serbian passenger has collapsed this evening at ATH and has been transferred to an Athens hospital in critical condition. One mother has also appealed for medical help as her infant has developed a high fever.

This is EU and 21st century????
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:35 am

Out of interest, what does this have to do with Olympic, other than them being the carrier? Airlines dont grant entry visas, even national airlines, last time I looked - thats for the govenrment to do.

And the governmental stance on this, while mildly believable, is pretty auwful - these are human beings, let them in for the night!
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:40 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 4):
Out of interest, what does this have to do with Olympic, other than them being the carrier? Airlines dont grant entry visas, even national airlines, last time I looked - thats for the govenrment to do.

 checkmark  Exactly. What does this have to do with OA?

Border controls are the responsibility of the Greek authorities, not an airline. I'm sure OA would be more than happy to operate to BEG, however as you stated the airport has been closed now for 3 days.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
SQ772
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:52 am

I have to agree with the rest. The granting of entry visas is solely at the discretion of the Greek government and nothing to do with OA.

However, how OA treats their own passengers who are stuck at the airport, the type of service they provide to make sure that the young and elderly are taken care of (even though the delay is of no fault of OA's) will be the mark that differentiates a good airline from an irresponsible one.
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FlySSC
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:54 am

Is BEG the only airport in Serbia ???
If the Greek Authorities (and not OA) doesn't want to deliver a transit visa to those passengers, Wouldn't it be better to fly 70 people (only) to another destination close to Belgrade in Serbia, rather than keeping waiting for ever in the lounge of an airport ?
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:27 am

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 7):
Is BEG the only airport in Serbia ???
If the Greek Authorities (and not OA) doesn't want to deliver a transit visa to those passengers, Wouldn't it be better to fly 70 people (only) to another destination close to Belgrade in Serbia, rather than keeping waiting for ever in the lounge of an airport ?

No, Nis Constantine the Great International Airport in Nis is fully operational and some airlines have elected to fly their pax into INI and bus them to Belgrade.
 
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OA412
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:55 am

Where are you getting your info? I have looked all over and have found nothing to corroborate your story. Anyway, I agree with the others that if this incident occurred as you report it, it is not OA's fault that they were not issued a transit visa but, the Greek Government's.

[Edited 2006-12-16 22:56:44]

[Edited 2006-12-16 22:57:28]
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BHXFAOTIPYYC
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:26 am

Quoting JoKeR (Reply 3):
This is EU and 21st century????

Exactly. You answered your own question.

It all about dates. Go back 20 years and Yugoslavia was more advanced than Greece was, but it was the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. As the EEC expanded Greece was in the right place at the right time. Then the Iron Curtain fell, the Balkan war broke out.... and the rest is history. Now Greece gets to say who can/cannot get an EU (Schengen) visa in this case, and Greek bureaucracy isn't exactly known for its speed. Within 10 years Serbia will be in the EU (assuming it's still going) and this will not be an issue.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
 
kiramakora
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:36 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 4):
Out of interest, what does this have to do with Olympic, other than them being the carrier? Airlines dont grant entry visas, even national airlines, last time I looked - thats for the govenrment to do.

Last year, I was transitting via AMS on KL to India ex JFK. My Indian flight was cancelled due to MX issues and due to overbooking, I had to stay in AMS 2 extra nights. My Schenegen visa had just expired. I remember the lovely KL agents fighting hard to gain me an EU transit visa so I could go and stay at an airport hotel. Airlines do have the ability to leverage their position.

I am sorry to hear you are being treated so badly. Hang in there - and next time, vote with your wallet and fly a different airline. OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders.

Good luck.
 
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OA260
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:54 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
I am sorry to hear you are being treated so badly. Hang in there - and next time, vote with your wallet and fly a different airline. OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders.

Sorry you are very wrong indeed my friend !!! India was a disaster when I went to Delhi and Agra!! Everyone wanted paid for everything and no one wanted to help unless they got money ( even for directions ) we were a group of 20 and that was the general opinon also not just me and we were UK,Germany citizens also. DONT generalise about people .
 
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OA260
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:03 am

Quoting BHXFAOTIPYYC (Reply 10):
Now Greece gets to say who can/cannot get an EU (Schengen) visa in this case, and Greek bureaucracy isn't exactly known for its speed

Sorry I do not agree with that !! Two years ago Greece was told off by the EU for issuing Schengen visas too freely and was told to clamp down so Greece has no control and they are told what to do by Brussels!!!

To answer Jokers OP. I find it disgusting that Serbian nationals are not allowed into Greece more freely and the Greek government should have granted emergency visas for the 70 affected. Greece lets in far to many illegal immigrants from outside Europe and our own neighbours in Serbia cant even get in for a vacation , its truly disgusting but its all EU rules and red tape. I go to BEG every year to see friends and I feel like im in Greece as its so familiar. I only hope that the staff at ATH are helping out with food and drinks etc.. to try make it more bearable. I cant blame OA though if it was JU it would be the same story with visas. I would write to the Greek Embassy in Athens and also to the EU in Brussels and ask them about their policies. I feel very sorry for the passengers stranded and hope that they get home to BEG soon. They should have not been treated like this especially by their Greek allies.
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:05 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
Airlines do have the ability to leverage their position.

I have to second this, airlines indeed do have the ability to guarantee for their passengers during unforeseen transits, therefore OA could have made arrangements with the local authorities. It has happened in the past.

Jat Airways has paid thousands of euros for stranded pax in DXB; it had to organize visas and hotel accommodation:

http://www.beta.co.yu/default.asp?m=...,eko&j=sr&h=Home,sr&prikaz=1555325

Quoting OA412 (Reply 9):
Where are you getting your info? I have looked all over and have found nothing to corroborate your story.

Sorry, in Serbian only:

http://www.rts.co.yu/jedna_vest.asp?source=komentar&IDNews=170857

http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index....d=16&nav_category=15&nav_id=223816
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:07 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 13):
I only hope that the staff at ATH are helping out with food and drinks etc..

7.5 euros for 72 hours was given according to local media.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 13):
if it was JU it would be the same story with visas.

Not quite, emergency visas and HOTAC was provided to DXB stranded pax.
 
anax
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:30 pm

Quoting JoKeR (Reply 15):
Not quite, emergency visas and HOTAC was provided to DXB stranded pax.

visa for the UAE is just a money issue at the bank teller , while visa for the EU , is more of a border question.
god is a spotter!!!
 
Australia1
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:04 pm

Greeks love a few dollars to grease the wheels.

Amazing what can get done with a bit of bribery in Greece.
 
cy319
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:58 pm

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 4):
Out of interest, what does this have to do with Olympic, other than them being the carrier?

Correct

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 6):
The granting of entry visas is solely at the discretion of the Greek government

Correct

Quoting Australia1 (Reply 17):
Greeks love a few dollars to grease the wheels.

Correct but it doesnt apply to tourists like in Egypt, India, Latin America and other developping countries. Bribery takes place amongst Greeks in our everyday life.
wanna be travel buddies ,sex buddies .. or both ?
 
1981
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:00 pm

This is bad for the reputation of our country and the hospitality that we have in Greece,but also we have a bureaucracy because the authorities at LGAV are worst than any arabian country.
 
Beaucaire
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:05 pm

it is correct to state that Olympic is not responsibile for the issue of entry visas- but in that particular case Olympic could have leveraged their political power within Greece to obtain special -entry documents with the ministry of Interior or transport.
Not all what is correct on paper is perceived as proactive by stranded passengers.There are ways to jump over your own shadow ...
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kiramakora
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:41 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 12):
Sorry you are very wrong indeed my friend !!! India was a disaster when I went to Delhi and Agra!! Everyone wanted paid for everything and no one wanted to help unless they got money ( even for directions ) we were a group of 20 and that was the general opinon also not just me and we were UK,Germany citizens also. DONT generalise about people

I do not think this is the same thing as I outlined. You were within a tourist ghetto, what did you expect? I am talking at the people level - check the Human Rights Watch report on Greek xenophobia. Besides, the issue here is GREECE and Olympics dealing with the situation; if you want to discuss your misfortunes in India, I welcome you to start a new thread in non-Av.
 
icarus75
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:45 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders.

Greeks not open to outsidrs? Are you kidding? What allows you to say something like that?
I go to Greece at least once a year and people in this country are really friendly!!
Flying is amazing!
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:34 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 21):
the issue here is GREECE and Olympics dealing with the situation;

Well, I'm not sure if that would be different anywhere else. Let me just remind you that AF358's survivors weren't exactly pleased with the Canadian immigration service either.

God alone knows how would be pax from non-visa waiver country treated if KL's AMS-YYZ flight should ever divert...
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ANITIX87
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:19 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders.



Quoting Icarus75 (Reply 22):

Greeks not open to outsidrs? Are you kidding? What allows you to say something like that?
I go to Greece at least once a year and people in this country are really friendly!!

Exactly. I don't know where you get this agoraphobic view of Greeks. Not only do most Greeks speak great English, and many French as well, but they are very hospitable to tourists and foreigners.

Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 20):
Olympic could have leveraged their political power

AFAIK, Olympic is almost completely government funded now. They have very little power politically as they are practically owned by the government. They are probably afraid of losing their support from the Greek Gov't if they try to leverage for something they know the leaders are against.

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a3
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:55 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 21):
Greek xenophobia

Thank you for the short joke of the day!!!!  Smile

Well , with about 1.2 million (10 to12 % ) of the people living in Greece being foreigners from almost any country of the world , people that work , educate (free) their children to the country’s schools , people that support their families abroad sending money from Greece , that contribute to country’s wellbeing , that are free to move anywhere they want within EU (once the have the proper documents) ………etc etc...........................
.................
The only way to take what you said is as a GREAT joke lol
Don't spend your money on airlines that don't respect your business.
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:01 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 21):
Greek xenophobia

WOOOOOW, OK, this thread has taken a turn for the worse.

While Greek official's treatment of Serbian passengers was regrettable (btw they have just landed back home in BEG), you are generalizing the entire Greek nation which is not fair. Greek officials, as 1981 put it, are and can be ruthless, but that in no way is the "mirror" of the entire nation.
 
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TK787
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:39 am

Maybe a bit off topic, but isn't there a hotel at ATH?
 
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OA412
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:46 am

Quoting TK787 (Reply 27):

Yes there is a Sofitel on the airport grounds.
Hughes Airwest - Top Banana In The West
 
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OA260
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:22 pm

Just to reply to the DXB visa issue, it is very easy to buy a visa in UAE if the airline is a guaranture for the stranded passengers. The EU rule is very different .
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:35 pm

I'm glad they all made it home eventually. However, from a legislative perspective I found this situation interesting, as it exposes a weakness of the EC Air Passenger Rights Directive. In case of delays, the airline has the responsibility to look after the passengers (and fog is not force majeure). However, if the airline cannot put transit pax into a hotel because they are refused (emergency) visas, the airline cannot fulfill this duty unless there's a hotel in the transit zone.

I think this is a flaw in the Regulation that was overlooked when drafting. I wonder whether an amendment would be possible.

On the other hand, OA could have solved the problem itself by flying everyone to Nis and arrange bus transport. Would have been far more elegant. As a matter of fact, when I had to fly MXP-SKP last year, SKP was fogged in as well. AZ chose to fly nonetheless, and dropped us in Ohrid and arranged bus transportation.

So while strictly speaking it wasn't OA's fault, OA did nothing to find an alternative solution when they easily could have. Shame.
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
jetfan727
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:44 am

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders

Well the title of this thread starts with "disgust". That is exactly what I feel when I read such comments who are on the verge of racism. I have been travelling to Greece many times and have felt welcome each and every time. If there is a country where hospitality is a real tradition and which is well known for it worldwide , it is Greece. I do not know which kind of outsiders you are referring to but if you mean people like you, then I can understand !
 
kiramakora
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:11 am

Ok. Let me clarify since it merits the same. I have been to Greece several times and have been welcomed each time. I have not felt racism directed towards me on any instance. HOWEVER, within the international community, Greek policy has been tinged with xenophobia and you can review the same within HRW and AI. Given this situation deals with the INSTITUTIONAL capacity of the Greek government, and their treatment of the Serbs, I would have thought that the people reading this messageboard would have the ability to equate the two and understand that who the allegations were being levelled at. There is an inherent disconnect between people and their governments; and I was addressing this fact.

Now, the following 2 are irrelevant because if xenophobia were to exist, it would surely not be directed at citizens of the flag-bearers now would it?

Quoting Icarus75 (Reply 22):
Greeks not open to outsidrs? Are you kidding? What allows you to say something like that?
I go to Greece at least once a year and people in this country are really friendly!!



Quoting Jetfan727 (Reply 31):
have been travelling to Greece many times and have felt welcome each and every time. If there is a country where hospitality is a real tradition and which is well known for it worldwide , it is Greece.

Anyways, I am glad it all worked out.
 
6thfreedom
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:54 am

Quoting A3 (Reply 25):
Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 21):
Greek xenophobia

Thank you for the short joke of the day!!!!

A3... I don't even think Kiramakora knows what the irony in his comment is..
 
anax
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:37 am

Quoting BuyantUkhaa (Reply 30):
(and fog is not force majeure).

really? what is it then? maybe scheduled by the airline to save some fuel?

that's another joke
god is a spotter!!!
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:42 am

Quoting Anax (Reply 34):
really? what is it then? maybe scheduled by the airline to save some fuel?

that's another joke

As I'm sure you know, fog occurs frequently in some places, especially in winter. So an airline should have a plan in place in case there is fog. See the above AZ example I gave, I think that's a good way of solving it, as you obviously can't solve the fog itself. If Nis is fog-free, then fly there and bus them to Belgrade.
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
QANTAS077
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:08 pm

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 21):
check the Human Rights Watch report on Greek xenophobia.

check the human rights report on any country on the planet...what's your point?

Quoting Kiramakora (Reply 11):
OA and Greeks are not exactly known for their openness to outsiders.

you sure about that, champ?

i'll tell you the real reason why they wouldn't grant them a visa...because the Greeks are probably worried that when it came time for those passengers to fly back to Serbia they won't be able to find them...
 
olympic707
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:55 pm

Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 36):
i'll tell you the real reason why they wouldn't grant them a visa...because the Greeks are probably worried that when it came time for those passengers to fly back to Serbia they won't be able to find them...

You are correct.  yes 

Yanni


Kala Hristouyenna, Hronia Poula!  santahat 
Fly Olympic - Aviation GREEK STYLE!
 
QANTAS077
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:28 pm

Quoting Olympic707 (Reply 37):
Kala Hristouyenna, Hronia Poula!

efcharisto.
 
JoKeR
Topic Author
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:53 pm

Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 36):
i'll tell you the real reason why they wouldn't grant them a visa...because the Greeks are probably worried that when it came time for those passengers to fly back to Serbia they won't be able to find them...

 banghead   banghead 

Quoting Olympic707 (Reply 37):
You are correct.

 banghead   banghead   banghead 

Ah what a load of @#$%^&... guys.... hello, cold war is over  white  Greece is a nice country but we are not that desperate to emigrate there you know... all these people wanted was to get back home!

 butthead 
 
JoKeR
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:58 pm

Oh and BTW, you two Greek emigrants, sorry, patriots, how is the US and OZ treating you Big grin Big grin Big grin
 
semsem
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:01 am

I am surprised. I thought that Greece and Serbia were buddies.
 
cy319
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:08 am

Quoting Semsem (Reply 41):
I am surprised. I thought that Greece and Serbia were buddies.

Very correct!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are best friends!  Smile
I am suprised too.
wanna be travel buddies ,sex buddies .. or both ?
 
BigTom
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RE: Disgust At Olympic Airlines!

Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:43 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 29):
Just to reply to the DXB visa issue, it is very easy to buy a visa in UAE if the airline is a guaranture for the stranded passengers.

The UAE gives visa on arrival to only a select list of nationalities. All others need a local guarantor. If you're flying EK or EY then the airline can stand guarantee. It's not just a question of money across the table.

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 24):
Exactly. I don't know where you get this agoraphobic view of Greeks. Not only do most Greeks speak great English, and many French as well, but they are very hospitable to tourists and foreigners.

Well maybe the Greeks are great hosts, but what's speaking English and French got to do with it?

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