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peterinlisbon
Topic Author
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Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:00 pm

My wife was flying on Air France from Agadir to Istanbul. She had a return ticket and, as a Moroccan citizen, she does not require a transit visa. However, at the airport they refused to let her check-in, claiming that she had to show that she had 5200 Euros (60 Euros per day x 87 days) because a French law requires this.

As I understand it, this is a French law that governs people visiting France, not transit passengers going to other destinations. She only had a 5 hour stopover in Paris so it is ridiculous that they are saying she needed over 5000 Euros to cover that period of time. So now, because the actions of the check-in staff she missed her flight.

What is the best way to deal with this and get compensation and/or a refund for this ticket? Are airlines allowed to just make up their own rules or interpret the rules any way they like and refuse to check people in? The wider issue here is that this could affect anyone traveling via Paris.
 
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eastafspot
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:20 pm

I think this amount is for all the Schengen Area - not France exclusively - when you stay in a hotel/lodge... etc; in case someone invites/accomodates you, it goes down to 32,5 euro per day.
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
ubeema
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:36 pm

OP as much as I empathize with your situation I’m not sure it qualifies for denied boarding since she was not issued a boarding pass. But I have couple questions to wrap my head around this:
Was this ticket booked with Air France or a third party?
Also why did you not choose to fly RAM or TK directly, I have not verified whether they offer flights but it would make more sense to avoid third country especially France?
What did Air France agent offer at check in as resolution or alternative?
 
ajs123uk
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:56 pm

You seem to have lots of problems like this. Didn’t something similar happen with Lufthansa I remember you posting about
 
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longhauler
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:59 pm

ajs123uk wrote:
You seem to have lots of problems like this. Didn’t something similar happen with Lufthansa I remember you posting about

Yes, his associates do seem to have trouble getting to Istanbul.

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Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Cloudybay
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:02 pm

Quick search shows reasonable flights on Turkish/code share or Royal Air Maroc through Casablanca. Maybe that will be a better option next time?
 
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XAM2175
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:30 pm

longhauler wrote:
ajs123uk wrote:
You seem to have lots of problems like this. Didn’t something similar happen with Lufthansa I remember you posting about

Yes, his associates do seem to have trouble getting to Istanbul


Friend became the wife, perhaps? :p

peterinlisbon wrote:
as a Moroccan citizen, she does not require a transit visa


Not necessarily. According to IATA TIMATIC, a Moroccan national transiting through a French airport without crossing the border will still require a visa unless they meet the following criteria:
Holders of onward tickets in transit do not require a visa if their transit is:
    A maximum transit time of 24 hours through Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
    On the same calendar day through Marseille (MRS), except when transiting between terminals 1 and 2, where airlines must contact the authorities before arrival.
    On the same calendar day between 04:00 and 23:00 through Nice (NCE), except when transiting between terminals 1 and 2.
    On the same calendar day between 06:00 and 23:30 through Paris Orly (ORY), except when transiting between the South and West terminals.


peterinlisbon wrote:
Are airlines allowed to just make up their own rules or interpret the rules any way they like and refuse to check people in?


Yes.

:roll:

Seriously mate, this is fairly straightforward and I can only assume either your acquaintances have spectacularly bad luck or you're leaving some details out of the telling. If by some amazing chance though it's the former, your wife should complain to AF.
 
fessor
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:34 pm

if she is just in transit she don't even need a visa that's the Schengen rules and then also she don't need to show she has those kind of money
 
johns624
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:09 pm

Was her entire itinerary on one ticket or two?
 
peterinlisbon
Topic Author
Posts: 1744
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:19 am

To clarify some details:

- In the past I had the same problem with Lufthansa - after a long fight, they eventually admitted that they were wrong to deny boarding, apologized and gave me a full refund as well as assuring me that this would not happen again in the future. However, this didn't really compensate for the amount inconvenience caused. She has since flown again with Lufthansa via Frankfurt and not had any problems.
- The flight was via Paris CDG and the stopover was just 5 hours, therefore a transit visa was not required (as stated in the exemptions mentioned above). There was no need to cross any French border.
- This was on a single (round-trip ticket) from Agadir to Istanbul.
- Yes, we are now married which is why I refer to her as my wife.

What I understand happened is the following:
- The check-in staff are unable to understand the difference between the requirements for a person visiting France and a passenger in transit and think that this 60 Euros per day rule applies to everyone
- There is nobody from reservations or from any other department at Air France that is able to contact these people and tell them that they are making a mistake

As to why did I book this ticket? Because I checked and verified that she did not require a transit visa and this was the most convenient flight as it was going from Agadir to Istanbul rather than from Casablanca Airport, which takes 10 hours to get to overland and requires an expensive overnight stay at a hotel. Royal Air Maroc via Casablanca was about £300 more expensive and also required a stopover. In any case, Air France offers transit flights to a lot of places to which there are no direct flights (Brazil, China, Korea etc). Does this mean that Moroccans cannot travel on any of these flights and face being treated unfairly and turned away at check-in just because of the ignorance of their check-in agents?

This doesn't appear to me to be a case of bad luck but rather a generalized pattern of ignorance by check-in staff at Moroccan airports. They don't know the rules and there are no higher-level staff on hand to clarify matters. If they are unsure, they just turn people away.
 
ubeema
Posts: 410
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:35 pm

As passengers sometimes we expect/want the people that inconvenience us will be reprimanded or “schooled” by their employers. This will not happen, just move on with the claim process and make your case for compensation and refund whatever apply.
Next time you book a flight always consider the risks you are taking. Cheaper bookings include more risks (layover in 3rd country/airport with possible delays or visa issues), or intangibles such as strikes.
More expensive booking does not mean faster trip but offers you a better guarantee to make it to final destination on time without unexpected expenses. Pick your poison.
I’m pretty sure the check-in agents in Agadir are Moroccan nationals so I don’t think there is an effort to keep discriminate against Moroccans. Follow the process and you use the experience you learned with LH to get ahead and you should be fine.
 
blandy62
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:25 pm

ubeema wrote:
As passengers sometimes we expect/want the people that inconvenience us will be reprimanded or “schooled” by their employers. This will not happen, just move on with the claim process and make your case for compensation and refund whatever apply.
Next time you book a flight always consider the risks you are taking. Cheaper bookings include more risks (layover in 3rd country/airport with possible delays or visa issues), or intangibles such as strikes.
More expensive booking does not mean faster trip but offers you a better guarantee to make it to final destination on time without unexpected expenses. Pick your poison.
I’m pretty sure the check-in agents in Agadir are Moroccan nationals so I don’t think there is an effort to keep discriminate against Moroccans. Follow the process and you use the experience you learned with LH to get ahead and you should be fine.


If staff really make a mistake either because they don't know or are just incompetent; It is normal if they get reprimanded like it would happen in any job.
 
ubeema
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:40 pm

blandy62 wrote:
If staff really make a mistake either because they don't know or are just incompetent; It is normal if they get reprimanded like it would happen in any job.

The point is to understand how these large businesses operate especially airlines. They might have an internal process to retrain underperforming employees. But as the passengers you want to move on and obtain your due compensation, you will not feel any better that an employee got their ears pulled, you will surely feel great when money (especially full refund) or free ticket come your way.
 
blandy62
Posts: 282
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Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:50 pm

ubeema wrote:
blandy62 wrote:
If staff really make a mistake either because they don't know or are just incompetent; It is normal if they get reprimanded like it would happen in any job.

The point is to understand how these large businesses operate especially airlines. They might have an internal process to retrain underperforming employees. But as the passengers you want to move on and obtain your due compensation, you will not feel any better that an employee got their ears pulled, you will surely feel great when money (especially full refund) or free ticket come your way.


I won't say I fully agree but I get your point
 
peterinlisbon
Topic Author
Posts: 1744
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:37 am

Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:26 pm

ubeema wrote:
blandy62 wrote:
If staff really make a mistake either because they don't know or are just incompetent; It is normal if they get reprimanded like it would happen in any job.

The point is to understand how these large businesses operate especially airlines. They might have an internal process to retrain underperforming employees. But as the passengers you want to move on and obtain your due compensation, you will not feel any better that an employee got their ears pulled, you will surely feel great when money (especially full refund) or free ticket come your way.


A refund does not even begin to cover the amount of time wasted, stress and the additional expense caused by their mistake. I had this before with Lufthansa and I had to fight them to get a refund, but in the end they admitted that they were wrong to deny boarding and they promised that this would never happen again. It seems to me that this problem is partly because Morocco does not punish and fine airlines that mistreat passengers and there is no organization that can stand up for their rights as would be the case in Europe. In Europe people get hundreds of Euros for a delay of just a few hours, but it seems that Moroccan passengers can be delayed for weeks and not get any compensation at all (and may not even get their money back for their ticket).

I should not have to avoid all transit flights (which are cheaper and more convenient) just because the airport staff are not well-trained enough to know how to deal with transit passengers. Whilst there are some direct flights between Morocco and Turkey, they are all on the same route between Casablanca and Istanbul and Casablanca is a very long and uncomfortable journey (more than 10 hours in a bus) away from where my wife lives.

If anyone that buys a ticket from Edinburgh to Hong Kong via Dubai is denied boarding even though they don't require a transit visa, that would give the airline concerned a reputation as unreliable and dishonest. Nobody would say "they should have flown on Cathay Pacific or BA from London, it's suspicious that they wanted to take this route via Dubai when there are direct flights available".

Somehow European airlines like Air France are getting away with selling tickets in countries like Morocco to destinations all over the world via their hubs, but then feel entitled to just turn away passengers at check-in and refuse to refund the money. They are breaking the law by doing so and really deserve to be heavily fined and/or banned from flying to these countries where they are ripping people off.

Air France is offering tickets from Morocco to destinations all over the world, not just Istanbul. It is irrelevant whether direct flights also exist. They are selling these tickets and should provide the service that they are offering, without discriminating against passengers based on nationality and disregarding the rules established by the EU on which nationalities require a transit visa.
 
blandy62
Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:47 am

Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:12 am

peterinlisbon wrote:
ubeema wrote:
blandy62 wrote:
If staff really make a mistake either because they don't know or are just incompetent; It is normal if they get reprimanded like it would happen in any job.

The point is to understand how these large businesses operate especially airlines. They might have an internal process to retrain underperforming employees. But as the passengers you want to move on and obtain your due compensation, you will not feel any better that an employee got their ears pulled, you will surely feel great when money (especially full refund) or free ticket come your way.


A refund does not even begin to cover the amount of time wasted, stress and the additional expense caused by their mistake. I had this before with Lufthansa and I had to fight them to get a refund, but in the end they admitted that they were wrong to deny boarding and they promised that this would never happen again. It seems to me that this problem is partly because Morocco does not punish and fine airlines that mistreat passengers and there is no organization that can stand up for their rights as would be the case in Europe. In Europe people get hundreds of Euros for a delay of just a few hours, but it seems that Moroccan passengers can be delayed for weeks and not get any compensation at all (and may not even get their money back for their ticket).

I should not have to avoid all transit flights (which are cheaper and more convenient) just because the airport staff are not well-trained enough to know how to deal with transit passengers. Whilst there are some direct flights between Morocco and Turkey, they are all on the same route between Casablanca and Istanbul and Casablanca is a very long and uncomfortable journey (more than 10 hours in a bus) away from where my wife lives.

If anyone that buys a ticket from Edinburgh to Hong Kong via Dubai is denied boarding even though they don't require a transit visa, that would give the airline concerned a reputation as unreliable and dishonest. Nobody would say "they should have flown on Cathay Pacific or BA from London, it's suspicious that they wanted to take this route via Dubai when there are direct flights available".

Somehow European airlines like Air France are getting away with selling tickets in countries like Morocco to destinations all over the world via their hubs, but then feel entitled to just turn away passengers at check-in and refuse to refund the money. They are breaking the law by doing so and really deserve to be heavily fined and/or banned from flying to these countries where they are ripping people off.

Air France is offering tickets from Morocco to destinations all over the world, not just Istanbul. It is irrelevant whether direct flights also exist. They are selling these tickets and should provide the service that they are offering, without discriminating against passengers based on nationality and disregarding the rules established by the EU on which nationalities require a transit visa.


as long as I think that it is the passengers' responsibility to make sure they have all their documentation for the final destination, I also think that companies selling such ticket via their hub should have the reponsability to warm people who buy those ticket about such restriction when transiting in their hub (I am not taking about people by 2 one way tickets to save money but really people buying a ticket from A to b via a third port) before purchasing them.
 
GuillaumePhilly
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 12:10 am

Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:44 pm

In future I would visit http://www.iatatravelcentre.com before traveling. You can then print and carry with you the results which show passport, visa, and vaccination requirements based on your particular travel situation (ie: nationality, country of origin, transit point, destination country, etc). Most airlines use an IATA system similar in order to tell them these requirements. I wouldn’t use it to argue with immigration officials, however it could come in very handy with the airline troubles you seem to have been having.
 
peterinlisbon
Topic Author
Posts: 1744
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:37 am

Re: Denied Boarding on Air France

Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:53 am

GuillaumePhilly wrote:
In future I would visit http://www.iatatravelcentre.com before traveling. You can then print and carry with you the results which show passport, visa, and vaccination requirements based on your particular travel situation (ie: nationality, country of origin, transit point, destination country, etc). Most airlines use an IATA system similar in order to tell them these requirements. I wouldn’t use it to argue with immigration officials, however it could come in very handy with the airline troubles you seem to have been having.


We have done this in the past. However, the check-in staff in Morocco seem to have a procedure which involves talking to some mystery person on Whatsapp and then just saying "no, you can't fly" and they don't listen to what the passenger is saying. If I was there myself I would have argued with them more forcefully and last time I even phoned the handling agent and shouted down the phone at them and they still denied boarding. Later, Lufthansa refunded the money and sent me an apology for their "mistake", but only after insisting for a long time that I was wrong and that it was our fault.

Air France is a very big airline and it provides connections between points all over the world. I'm amazed that they are neglectful when it comes to knowing which nationalities require a transit visa and the lack of respect shown by them is incredible. How can they be allowed to operate in Morocco when they clearly don't have any respect for Moroccan citizens?

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