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Can ground agent staff refuse you boarding flight? /AEGEAN AIR

Can ground agent staff refuse you boarding flight? /AEGEAN AIR

Old Aug 11, 20, 5:09 am
  #1  
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Can ground agent staff refuse you boarding flight? /AEGEAN AIR

Hello all, I had a recent terrible experience flying from Paris to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines. I was flying with my daughter and her boyfriend. The Greek government requires all passengers to fill out a "QR code" document 24-48 hours before taken a flight to Greece, which I did. The problem is the website bugged (and I found out afterwards I wasn't the only one with this problem) and misspelled my first name (all other information on my daughter, passport details etc was fine). I explained this to the check in agent at Charles de Gaulle and she refused me access, despite must protesting on my part. She said you'll just get sent back. I ended up having to pay for another much more expensive flight the next day, and my daughter was put in danger as I was supposed to be driving the rental car (late at night, dangerous mountain roads). It created a huge amount of stress for us all.

I later learned that the QR code was not checked at any point in any airport, and indeed, when I travelled after having done a new code (TWICE, because it bugged once again and sent back the wrong birthdate!), no-one even cared about the code, in Paris, Zurich or Heraklion.

I learned from other passengers , who checked with their respective embassies , that the check in agent had absolutely no right to refuse me getting on the plane. That if I wished to go and risk a fine in Greece that this was my prerogative. Other passengers I spoke with didn't even bother to do the QR code and police allowed them to do it upon arrival in Greece.

I'm really pissed off about this and intend on getting a refund and having them pay the other flight.

I would appreciate any comments, especially from those with similar experiences.

Oh, and by the way, another one of her colleagues told us that the flight was "overbooked" and that they were "looking for every reason to find space" (ie, my experience ). So I bet they "bent" the rules to get another overbooked passenger on board.

Last edited by adrianelvn; Aug 11, 20 at 5:16 am Reason: update
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:15 am
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I will ask this as I'm a man with sausage fingers and chronic clumsiness: can you prove it was a website bug that caused the misspelling of the name and not a typo?
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:15 am
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If you do request a refund, I suggest you keep it simple, short, and factual: i.e., leave out the dangerous mountain road/rental-car part.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:24 am
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I say you have close to zero chance to get any compensation: airlines have every right in the world to see proper documentation before boarding that is required to enter a foreign country. Whether or not the foreign country actually checks such documentation is irrelevant.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:29 am
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You have close to zero chances:
- Airlines have the right to see proper documentation before boarding, whether or not it will be checked
- You will have the onus to prove there is a bug

If you do claim a refund, shorten it down to facts and leave out emotions and speculations about danger.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:33 am
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The airline should be enforcing that passengers have the QR code, even if it is not checked on arrival.

You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF)at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a 500 Euro fine on arrival or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country.
I don't think you have much comeback, but potentially it depends on how garbled your name was on the form?

One question: did you try resubmitting the form at the airport? I heard from a friend they submitted the form on the app at the check-in desk and got the QR code immediately, and wondered if they were just lucky or if it is immediate?

I traveled to Greece early July and was quite impressed with the whole setup. I've been seeing quite a few last minute offers, so was considering returning.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:55 am
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I'm afraid it's always the responsibility of the passenger to have the correct documentation to fly - it doesn't matter if it's a visa, US ESTA, Covid declaration, ticketed reservation, passport or ID card.

The airlines will check. Timatic, which is what they rely on, has this for entry to Greece from France (assuming you have a French/EU passport):

Originally Posted by Timatic
Warning:
Passengers are subject to medical screening and quarantine for 1 or 14 days.

Passengers must complete a "Passenger Locator Form(PLF)" 24 hours before arrival at https://travel.gov.gr/ . A QR code generated from the completed form must be presented upon arrival.
By your own admission, you did not have a correctly completed form. Had you just shown the agent the QR code the likelihood is that they wouldn't even have noticed, and I equally suspect the Greek authorities would just have processed you if you'd maintained the same silence the other end - but as soon as you mentioned the problem then they were always going to take the most cautious line, which was to deny you boarding. I imagine the possibility of you raising alarm bells in Geece by saying "This isn't my name" to the authorities there wouldn't have helped.

Contrary to your belief, and that of the other passengers, airlines are fined large sums of money if they allow a passenger to travel who is subsequently refused for not having the correct documentation or permission to enter the country. In the circumstances, the airline was perfectly within its rights to refuse to carry you.

I will say A3 is not the only airline denying boarding on these grounds - there are accounts of BA doing the same at Heathrow, albeit they seem to be because the passenger has made no attempt to complete the form.

You need to chalk this up to experience and know that in future it's better not to voluntarily raise anything that you believe won't be an issue in reality.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 5:58 am
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I have all the documents, but other than the fact that my daughter was there when I did the form, not really. I have both versions. I can also show them the version (it bugged twice) where they put the wrong birthdate and I had to do it again. But I don't think Aegean really cares. I'll be playing on the fact that they refused entrance to the plane, even though I don't think they have the right (and most probably not because of the error on the form- but more because they were overbooked and needed the seat....)

The problem is that the Greek website is buggy, and that it is impossible at J-1 to make any adjustments at all. So even with the "erroneous" document, it was impossible to do otherwise. Many other passengers had the same problem. French TV just did a show on it, documenting dozens of passengers going to Greece having their holidays ruined for this. So no, I'm not really fully agreed with you. The UK Embassy said they had no right to refuse me (apparently the French Embassy ays the same) , and I'll see what happens. Thanks for your opinion.

Originally Posted by 8420PR View Post
The airline should be enforcing that passengers have the QR code, even if it is not checked on arrival.

Impossible to resubmit the form for a flight the same day- I tried.

I left the next day on another flight , and AGAIN , the Greek QR website changed my information (wrong birthdate) so I had to do it again.

Normally with the QR, they should have let me on.

And , as per the "garbled" name, it put my daughters first name twice (ie, replacing my first name with hers). All other information was fine as was the QR....


I don't think you have much comeback, but potentially it depends on how garbled your name was on the form?

One question: did you try resubmitting the form at the airport? I heard from a friend they submitted the form on the app at the check-in desk and got the QR code immediately, and wondered if they were just lucky or if it is immediate?

I traveled to Greece early July and was quite impressed with the whole setup. I've been seeing quite a few last minute offers, so was considering returning.
....and no-one whether the French side, or the Greek even bothered to look at the QR code in depth. You could have shown them a Pokemon go screen they would have let you through...

Your friend is wrong. Immediate (or less than 24 hour before travel) QR code just does not happen. It is not possible.

Ok. Any what if many different passenger are having the same problem with their govenment's website. I believe Aegean is a subsidiary of Olympic, the national airline.

Last edited by NWIFlyer; Aug 11, 20 at 9:09 am Reason: Merge consecutive posts
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Old Aug 11, 20, 6:51 am
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The bottom line here is that you stand close to zero chance of either compensation for denied boarding or a refund of your original ticket. That is because you presented yourself without the documents required by the Greek government in order to enter Greece (what the UK or French embassies think is irrelevant).

A3 is duty bound to assure that every passenger boarding one of its flights has the documents required to permit entry on arrival. This is true whether the Greek government chooses to check those documents on arrival. If A3 fails to do so, it runs the risk of having severe fines imposed on it (which it may later collect from you) and having to transport you back to CDG. Thus, it is indeed A3's duty to check documents and refuse those without proper documents.

If the Greek website has a problem, that will be between you and the Greek government. I suspect that you know where that ends, but you may certainly make a claim to that government for your losses occasioned by its inoperable website.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 6:53 am
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The Greek PLF was a "rush job" with lots of bugs

Wizz Air is reimbursing passengers refused because of mistakes on the form as "the Greek authorities are only interested in the QR code" ..

https://www.express.co.uk/travel/art...-travel-advice

https://dev.to/190245/greek-plf-problems-can-be-fixed-224d

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel...-a9662701.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/greece/articles/holidays-to-greece-ruined-confusion-online-form/
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Old Aug 11, 20, 6:55 am
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The "required document" according to the following article is the "QR code" which shows whether a test is needed upon arrival.

The Greek government "rushed" to prepare "buggy system" which has since received an update.

Several airlines are already reimbursing passengers for similar problems encountered by passengers.
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Old Aug 11, 20, 7:39 am
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Whether our fellow here will end up getting a refund or some Form of compensation is one thing, but I think most of you are being pretty harsh on him. It's down to one little and probably very simple typo (if he doesn't want to disclose the exact details, let's assume his name is Edward and the name on the document was printed as Ewdard). I mean I've certainly had at least a 2 occasions in the (pre-covid) past when issuing tickets with Aegean, where my wife's ticket was issued once with her being a "Mr." and another time with her first and last names in place of one another. I also made the "mistake" of anxiously mentioning that to the check-in agent and both times their reaction was something like "ah, that's nothing, don't worry, here's your bag tag, have a nice flight"!
Especially since issues with these forms are well-known I think the employee should have cleared the man through with an infinitely small risk of the Greek authorities denying him entry because of the "typo" and forcing Aegean to fly him back (if you know your Greek authorities you know they will be understanding about something like that, it's not like the Form was missing, like in cases where they've sent people back and were perfectly right in doing so)! What will be quite difficult will be to prove that the flight was overbooked and that him being denied to board was a deliberate action in order to facilitate their situation. Which, if true, constitutes a scam in my book (though I don't want to believe anyone at the airline would willingly act like that and take such a huge risk, intentionally treating someone like that, with such an agenda).
I wish the op good luck with this complicated and difficult case.
PS. You are right about the "moral lesson" in this story though: Don't test your own luck!
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Old Aug 11, 20, 7:56 am
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Arrived into ATH yesterday afternoon.

When departing MAD my QR code passport details were compared to my passport info page and then upon arrival in ATH, every QR code was being checked before proceeding to baggage claim.

The Greek website is a bit buggy, but if your PLF confirmation received immediately after submission shows an error, why did the OP not catch it at that moment and resubmit if necessary?
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Old Aug 11, 20, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by adrianelvn View Post
....and no-one whether the French side, or the Greek even bothered to look at the QR code in depth. You could have shown them a Pokemon go screen they would have let you through...
Are we given to understand, then, that you raised the "problem" in the first place?

Did you tell the check-in agent that the Greek government website "bugged" on you?

Or did the check-in agent determine for themselves that something was wrong?
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Old Aug 11, 20, 8:12 am
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The whole point of the confirmation before the issuance of the QR code is that you can verify if all details are correct. The application is just a simple HTML web page/form so I'm not entirely sure how it can be their fault if some information is submitted incorrect.

But even if that did happen, and was their fault, that would be an issue with the Greek Government. If you don't have valid papers every airline has the right to not carry you. In fact that is what the government requires of them. And of course they will be strict - if you are refused access at the border in Greece, it is then up to the airline to transport you back where you came from. Plus there will be a fine. Its absolutely in their interest to make sure that the papers are correct before they allow you boarding.
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