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Athens: Several denied boarding, no protest

Athens: Several denied boarding, no protest

Old Jun 4, 22, 2:15 pm
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Athens: Several denied boarding, no protest

Recently at ATH, I watched the boarding process of a flight (to AMS), and I observed a most peculiar thing. At least half a dozen men (each individually, not as a group) were sent away after their ID was closely examined. They did not protest, but they also were not questioned or arrested. What was going on there?

It was a pretty full plane, boarding at a bus gate. There were a couple policemen in uniform lingering about, but not involved in anything. At the door towards the bus, there was Aegean crew (of course), but also two plain clothes police officers, checking passenger IDs. One of them had a very strong magnifying glass, which she would use to examine ID cards presented by passengers.

Several times, she would examine the ID card, then gesture the passenger to step aside. Everytime it was a single man of varying age (adult, no seniors) with a small backpack or other carryon luggage. These men would simply walk away. They did not argue, they did not complain, they looked totally unfazed. But they also were not questioned, searched, arrested or anything. They were not given instructions (like "you are at the wrong gate, proceed to..."). They were not standbys, as far as I could see, because they did not hang around to see if there were any no-shows (and there were a few empty seats on the plane in the end).

If they had fake ID, I would expect them to be questioned, or arrested, or at least their particulars or fingerprints being taken. None of that happened.

Were they just actors in a test for the plain clothes officer? Or what on earth was going on there? Has anyone observed something like this before?
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Old Jun 5, 22, 9:13 am
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My educated guess is they where asylum seekers. Without going into any sensitive details, asylum seekers are allowed to stay within Greece but not allowed to leave the country. Source: https://help.unhcr.org/greece/rights...sylum-seekers/.

This is quite common with flights to Germany and Belgium.
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Old Jun 5, 22, 10:28 am
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Thank you. Attempts to leave the country are not recorded?
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Old Jun 5, 22, 1:01 pm
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Indeed, I've seen this many times with flights of A3 to BRU. I have spoken with some refugees from Syria who luckily found a good future in Belgium.
They told me there is an illegal market of stolen and sold EU ID cards in Greece which are sold to refugees. However, Greek police prevents the boarding of the refugees with fake/stolen IDs most of the time. The few "lucky" ones who manage to board the flight can then ask asylum in the country of arrival.
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Old Jun 5, 22, 5:49 pm
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These checks are common to flights to Germany as well (of course BRU and AMS). I remember some pax flying to BRU with a connection from TBS and making it an issue that every time they had it to pass this check.

from another time, my impression was that there is also a process involved, E.g. I think they do inquire from the gate agent the process on how/when the ticket was bought.
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Old Jun 5, 22, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by unusualtravelblog View Post
Indeed, I've seen this many times with flights of A3 to BRU. I have spoken with some refugees from Syria who luckily found a good future in Belgium.
They told me there is an illegal market of stolen and sold EU ID cards in Greece which are sold to refugees. However, Greek police prevents the boarding of the refugees with fake/stolen IDs most of the time. The few "lucky" ones who manage to board the flight can then ask asylum in the country of arrival.
I suppose if they are caught with stolen ID at ATH, they would be arrested and the ID would be confiscated?
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Old Jun 5, 22, 11:21 pm
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I dont want to get into a political conversation but unfortunately the majority of these asylum seekers are usually illegal immigrants by other countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh etc who arrive in Greece pretending to be from Syria or other countries that have war and asking for asylum. They usually then get fake IDs from the black market. Its a sad state really. Especially for the real asylum seekers.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 7:33 am
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And then alot of time spot checks on the other side.

Wich can lead to "amusing" talks of people claiming to fly into ams to take a buss to cdg.

And then they go silent after "then why not fly into paris?".

Most deff asylum/immigrant seekers. As to why there are not arrested, one can speculate. It most likely has to do with it not realy leading to anything. They dont have a place to stay or anything, so you cant realy punish them other then taking them off the streets for a while. And then what? Theirs alot more, and after a week they walk anyway.
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Old Jun 8, 22, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Yreal View Post

Most deff asylum/immigrant seekers. As to why there are not arrested, one can speculate. It most likely has to do with it not realy leading to anything. They dont have a place to stay or anything, so you cant realy punish them other then taking them off the streets for a while. And then what? Theirs alot more, and after a week they walk anyway.
To save time from speculation its all about public interest. Greek prisons are full and prisoners are very expensive to have. They get free meals, healthcare, activities and so on. Just to be clear, I am not against all these but we should consider who is going to prison and who is not very carefully.
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Old Jun 9, 22, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by jerry_greece View Post
These checks are common to flights to Germany as well (of course BRU and AMS). I remember some pax flying to BRU with a connection from TBS and making it an issue that every time they had it to pass this check.

from another time, my impression was that there is also a process involved, E.g. I think they do inquire from the gate agent the process on how/when the ticket was bought.
Ah! I saw something like this happen in AMS this past Saturday as we were doing passport control. The agent was grilling a young man because apparently his ID didn't look real.
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Old Jun 11, 22, 1:44 am
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suond like mysterious shopper
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Old Jun 11, 22, 5:15 am
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It's an odd thing. Must say that out of hundreds of ATH departures I have never seen something like this happen. I've seen single people being questioned for their paperwork, but like this - never. These people, having no financial means, would have purchased a flight just to 'try' getting through the checks by use of pure luck? That sounds like not a great investment.

Also, they would require 'double' luck because more often than not there is an ID check upon arrival at AMS. And this is one of those checks were racial profiling is heavily used - looking Dutch, being one of the first off the aircraft (ie flying business) they always just wave me through without even looking at my passport. Others obviously not looking western European (or typically Greek I guess), not so much.
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Old Jun 11, 22, 5:47 am
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
Also, they would require 'double' luck because more often than not there is an ID check upon arrival at AMS. And this is one of those checks were racial profiling is heavily used - looking Dutch, being one of the first off the aircraft (ie flying business) they always just wave me through without even looking at my passport. Others obviously not looking western European (or typically Greek I guess), not so much.
Not really double luck. I don't know the rules for asylum for The Netherlands but the people I have talked to could request asylum the moment they touched Belgian ground so for them it is enough to get on the plane and depart. They usually don't deport back to Greece as far as I know even if they get caught at arrival. It would be strange to deport someone to a country where they don't officially reside or have a nationality from.
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Old Jun 11, 22, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
It's an odd thing. Must say that out of hundreds of ATH departures I have never seen something like this happen. I've seen single people being questioned for their paperwork, but like this - never. These people, having no financial means, would have purchased a flight just to 'try' getting through the checks by use of pure luck? That sounds like not a great investment.

Also, they would require 'double' luck because more often than not there is an ID check upon arrival at AMS. And this is one of those checks were racial profiling is heavily used - looking Dutch, being one of the first off the aircraft (ie flying business) they always just wave me through without even looking at my passport. Others obviously not looking western European (or typically Greek I guess), not so much.
ATH-AMS was a common route for me pre-Covid and there are days you don't just need 'double luck', but triple since ATH will check your passport if you're entering the informal zone where the AMS flight was departing from (they'll close off the area so your only way in is getting your passport checked before even getting to the gate). There are indeed also times the Marechaussee weren't checking IDs at the end of the AMS aerobridge, but it is rare. I'm not sure about the racial profiling but they usually just take only an extra second checking the holographic security features of my passport and wave me through.

Got some grief at ATH as a Singapore passport holder - once, a lady was surprised to see I don't have a Schengen visa (we don't need one), and asked her supervisor round. Got cleared obviously, but I found it somewhat amusing given that my passport's full of Schengen stamps (and no sticker visas) which should have indicated to her I really don't need one, and that the same person checking passports at the gate didn't even bother looking since she clearly spent some time prior ascertaining that I had to right to fly to AMS.
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Old Jun 11, 22, 8:30 am
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I had to chime in here. When boarding from Athens to BCN we saw the same scenrio. It was an Asian lady and an African man not travelling together. I noticed while we were in line she pushed pass us to get ahead in the line, which I found odd. Then she was told to wait aside. From the bus I could see the gate and they stopped the African man as well. So it is probably quite a common occurence.
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