Denied boarding on BA due to immigration issue

Old Apr 6, 15, 4:57 am
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Denied boarding on BA due to immigration issue

Sorry, immigrqtio was supposed to be immigration, can't amend the title!

Long story short, and asking for a family member, if you are denied boarding at the gate (with a boarding card) because you managed to get through immigration in India without a stamp in your passport, is there anything to suggest you should be moved onto the next flight or at least get your taxes back or something?

We had nine pax flying from BOM to LHR who (and I have no idea how) managed to get as far as the boarding gate without their passports being stamped. When this was discovered they were sent back to immigration to have this done, but by this point the plane had departed.

Where do they stand in terms of getting a new ticket home? I realise BA is not at fault but I didn't know if there was some rule that changed things if they are in possession of a boarding card, or flying to the EU, or get as far as the gate, or if none of this matters and it's still just a case of bad luck?
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:07 am
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There is no entitlement from anything from BA.

I assume that check in is performed before immigration and where the passport would be stamped , in which case there would be no reason for BA to know that there would be a problem later

Do they have travel insurance - this might cover such an eventuality

Anything that BA might do, other than arrange a change with applicable change fee should the ticket allow it, would be purely ex gratia
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:16 am
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Denied boarding on BA due to immigrqtio issue

I cannot fathom how BOM airport can allow passengers to reach the gate without stamps...

But there is no entitlement to anything from BA, I'm afraid. It's not their fault and EC261 doesn't cover this.

Edit: would be good to know how they didn't get stamps. Did they even pass through immigration?
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:16 am
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I presume it was a fault of Indian's immigration, as the passengers were allowed by Indian immigration to go to the gate and, again presume, that he passenger did everything correctly (didn't enter a side door or such thing).

If so, it's probably up to BA and Indian immigration to sort it out: the passenger is an innocent bystander to the error.

I presume BA would simply reaccommodate them, if anything to keep good relations with Indian immigration. If BA doesn't, or starts charging change fees on the innocent passengers, I see a PR disaster in the making as the story goes viral through social media and makes Indian immigration look very bad.

Incidentally, the passengers did show up at the gate on time, so it could be argued that they were involuntarily denied boarding.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:16 am
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This appears to be outside the control of the passenger, an error by the immigration officer. I'm sure BA would offer to assist the passenger without additional charge by the operation of BA's CoC:

"3c4) If you need to change any aspect of your transportation because of events beyond your control, you must contact us as soon as possible. We will use reasonable efforts to transport you to your next stopover or final destination, without re-calculating the fare."
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:25 am
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How can BA not be responsible for getting stranded passengers home when it was BA that denied them boarding for their original flight at the gate? Unless BA specifically requires an exit stamp for departures from India to be ready to fly I can't even see how BA can justify the denied boarding. Why should BA even care in the first place? Passengers were at the gate and ready to fly. Presumably the docs were OK for the destination. If so, I am failing to see what was the reason to deny boarding.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
How can BA not be responsible for getting stranded passengers home when it was BA that denied them boarding for their original flight at the gate? Unless BA specifically requires an exit stamp for departures from India to be ready to fly I can't even see how BA can justify the denied boarding. Why should BA even care in the first place? Passengers were at the gate and ready to fly. Presumably the docs were OK for the destination. If so, I am failing to see what was the reason to deny boarding.
From what we know boarding appears to have been denied because of an immigration irregularity that apparently prevents the passenger from leaving. That cannot be BA's fault or responsibility.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:48 am
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I have a little more clarity on what happened - apparently some of the immigration channels were left unmanned and a number of pax proceeded through the unmanned channels. As these pax have not flown before, and had their passports checked at check in, they were unaware that this was the more formal check and simply walked through unhindered. I do accept that this is the fault of the pax, but as they were first time fliers I do think BOM Immigration and indeed airport security need to accept some responsibility for this.

Sadly though this is India and there is no way Immigration are ever going to accept fault. In the short term they have rebooked all nine pax with the next available airline but we were at least hoping to get the taxes and fees back from BA since they didn't travel. Not expecting anything else from them since I think we all accept this isn't their issue.

As an aside, they don't normally check for stamps at the gate so I am guessing that someone realised the channels had been left unmanned and therefore did a secondary check for stamps at the gate to find those pax who managed to walk through. They seemed to accept the pax were innocent enough as they were not blamed for this or questioned in any way, simply asked to go back to the desk to resolve it.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
From what we know boarding appears to have been denied because of an immigration irregularity that apparently prevents the passenger from leaving. That cannot be BA's fault or responsibility.
BA is not an immigration authority and I would think that only a governmental official can prevent a person from travelling due to a lack of an exit stamp. I have not read anything yet that BA is required by Indian authorities to check exit stamps. In fact, this is the first time I am hearing that BA (or any other airline) is doing this.
I would understand why BA would refuse to transport someone who does not have correct documents for the country of arrival and BA does require for passengers to be in the possession of correct docs but checking exit stamps?..

Originally Posted by HarryKUK View Post
As an aside, they don't normally check for stamps at the gate so I am guessing that someone realised the channels had been left unmanned and therefore did a secondary check for stamps at the gate to find those pax who managed to walk through. They seemed to accept the pax were innocent enough as they were not blamed for this or questioned in any way, simply asked to go back to the desk to resolve it.
That explains a lot. So, there seems to have been some sort of a security breach and they (I assume it only could have been Indian immigration authorities) decided to check documents at gates. Still, I would expect BA to be accommodating in such an extraordinary situation (and judging that they re-booked everyone, as it appears from your post, BA did their part). Not sure what refund you're expecting if passengers were re-booked.

Last edited by Andriyko; Apr 6, 15 at 5:59 am
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:55 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
BA is not an immigration authority and I would think that only a governmental official can prevent a person from travelling due to a lack of an exit stamp. I have not read anything yet that BA is required by Indian authorities to check exit stamps. In fact, this is the first time I am hearing that BA (or any other airline) is doing this.
I would understand why BA would refuse to transport someone who does not have correct documents for the country of arrival and BA does require for passengers to be in the possession of correct docs but checking exit stamps?..
I think the fact that the airline checked the passport for the departure stamp demonstrates that the airline was required to check. This discussion is futile, it is OT and it will not assist the OP.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
BA is not an immigration authority and I would think that only a governmental official can prevent a person from travelling due to a lack of an exit stamp. I have not read anything yet that BA is required by Indian authorities to check exit stamps. In fact, this is the first time I am hearing that BA (or any other airline) is doing this.
I would understand why BA would refuse to transport someone who does not have correct documents for the country of arrival and BA does require for passengers to be in the possession of correct docs but checking exit stamps?..
It is still unclear who did the final check, as the pax were unable to distinguish between BA staff, airport staff and immigration staff. They're all in uniform with lanyards so for a first time flier I imagine they all look the same. It may well have been an immigration official who did the search, and then instructed the airline to proceed with the offloading.

Some pax made it as far as the jetty and the rest were in the queue for the final BP scan when the issue came to light.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by HarryKUK View Post
I have a little more clarity on what happened - apparently some of the immigration channels were left unmanned and a number of pax proceeded through the unmanned channels. As these pax have not flown before, and had their passports checked at check in, they were unaware that this was the more formal check and simply walked through unhindered. I do accept that this is the fault of the pax, but as they were first time fliers I do think BOM Immigration and indeed airport security need to accept some responsibility for this.

Sadly though this is India and there is no way Immigration are ever going to accept fault. In the short term they have rebooked all nine pax with the next available airline but we were at least hoping to get the taxes and fees back from BA since they didn't travel. Not expecting anything else from them since I think we all accept this isn't their issue.

As an aside, they don't normally check for stamps at the gate so I am guessing that someone realised the channels had been left unmanned and therefore did a secondary check for stamps at the gate to find those pax who managed to walk through. They seemed to accept the pax were innocent enough as they were not blamed for this or questioned in any way, simply asked to go back to the desk to resolve it.
if BA have rebooked them on other flights at no charge to the passengers, why are you expecting a refund of taxes?
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
BA is not an immigration authority and I would think that only a governmental official can prevent a person from travelling due to a lack of an exit stamp. I have not read anything yet that BA is required by Indian authorities to check exit stamps. In fact, this is the first time I am hearing that BA (or any other airline) is doing this.
I would understand why BA would refuse to transport someone who does not have correct documents for the country of arrival and BA does require for passengers to be in the possession of correct docs but checking exit stamps?..
If the passenger has not cleared exit migration controls and received the exit stamp, then the passenger is not in possession of valid documents for departure

It seems that someone has rebooked the passengers so main issue covered now it seems
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Old Apr 6, 15, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by HarryKUK View Post
... I do think BOM Immigration and indeed airport security need to accept some responsibility for this.

Sadly though this is India and there is no way Immigration are ever going to accept fault. In the short term they have rebooked all nine pax with the next available airline but we were at least hoping to get the taxes and fees back from BA since they didn't travel. Not expecting anything else from them since I think we all accept this isn't their issue ...
If the passenger has been rebooked without charge why would they be entitled to any refund?
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Old Apr 6, 15, 6:03 am
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Still, I would expect BA to be accommodating in such an extraordinary situation (and judging that they re-booked everyone, as it appears from your post, BA did their part). Not sure what refund you're expecting if passengers were re-booked.
Pax were not rebooked by BA, they rebooked themselves onto another carrier as BA staff at the airport refused to help. They were told to visit their TA but since they were on the flight in the middle of the night (around 2am) and the next dat was a Sunday this wasn't a great option. As BA wouldn't rebook them, they had to make a decision and today (some 36 hours later) they've decided to bite the bullet and just buy new tickets. Hence the query about can we at least get the taxes back.
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