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Denied Boarding despite valid travel documents to enter Canada

Denied Boarding despite valid travel documents to enter Canada

Old Nov 4, 17, 4:17 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs down Denied Boarding despite valid travel documents to enter Canada

Long story (apologies)...but be alerted when travelling with a work permit on BA to Canada.


While returning from Europe to teach in Toronto I was denied to proceed at Flight Connections and as such denied boarding (BA 99) despite having valid travel documents to enter Canada with a valid work permit, valid (German) passport, and automatically issued ETA which one gets with the work permit.

These were the same documents I had used 3 times before flying on British Airways to Canada in the past 12 months and that I had used on about 20 other occasions with other airlines, always without any hassle or questions at immigration.

At Flight Connections BA insisted I needed an ETA number or permanent resident number (to put into their system). With a work permit you don't get an ETA number, it is attached to your passport. Moreover, I was still in permanent residence proceedings. BA called a Canadian immigration expert (out of my sight) and not sure what was asked, but I got the response I cannot travel with with the work permit. That conclusion is obviously wrong as the Canadian immigration website clearly shows and as I showed to BA.

I was sent to Boston that evening and endured a major inconvenience (unnecessary stress and expenses as I had to buy a oneway BOS YYZ). Overall, I was delayed about 14 hours.

I flew Air Canada from Boston to Toronto the next morning (in domestic coach after a 5 hour night, not Club World), checked in with an AC agent, had my documents checked and they were indeed (as they always had been) fine. The immigration officer at YYZ airport also confirmed that I should not have been denied flying on BA 99 the previous day due to my valid work permit and passport. As a German citizen no additional visa is needed.
I used the same documents again to enter Canada later that week, again on Air Canada though. No problems.

Hence, apparently, only for BA the documents were not sufficient and the questions asked by a flight connections manager led to a negative response.

BA issues:

First, interestingly, at my point of origin my travel documents other than my passport were not checked at all (even though it said so on my boarding pass). If I am about to be denied to travel to my final destination, I should have been checked and denied travelling with BA at the point of origin (and not a LHR Flight Connections). From there I could have easily gone to my other home to solve any documentation problem, if necessary.

Second, at LHR Flight Connections I was repeatedly asked for my eTA, even encouraged to sign up online – but with a work permit and also when applying for permanent resident status, as a German citizen, I cannot separately apply for an eTA, it is included in the work permit. I explained this and referred to the Canadian Immigration website that confirms this (showing the website).

The major problem seemed to be that the BA computer system requires either the eTA number or the permanent resident card number – but does not have a field for or accept the work permit number.

Immigrants to Canada who are in the process of getting their permanent resident status are allowed to travel based on other valid documents including the work permit.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/extend-stay.asp#worker_travel

Third, there was a lack of common sense among BA staff. When a passenger appears with several documents providing evidence for eligibility for entry into Canada, for very recent past entries, and for having a home there, including a work permit for another year, approximately 20 entries into Canada (based on passport stamps) in the past few months, several trips based on these documents even with British Airways, but also with Lufthansa and Air Canada and American Airlines, a work contract, or a tax statement, then it is likely that this passenger will be allowed to re-enter Canada.


So in the end I had to bear the cost and delay of my involuntary diversion.

My complaint to BA was answered as such:

We've now had a response from our Specialist team. We've been advised that when any of our airport staff are unsure about visas and or travel documentation they must call the appropriate authorities. In this case, the Canadian Authorities were called and advised us that we would be correct to deny you boarding on your flight to Canada. This was due to you only carrying a work permit, which doesn't authorise re-entry into Canada.
This is obviously wrong. I had my passport obviously (that was checked on boarding of the first leg).
Second, obviously, with that work permit I was allowed to travel and enter Canada, as I did the very next morning.

Needless to say, I got nothing.

While BA saved some $600 (which I wanted to be reimbursed for), I am not going to book any flights on BA anymore and will encourage my colleagues and students to not do so either.

That's a good way of losing a Gold member.
I hope this does not happen too often.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 4:24 pm
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According to the page which you referred to

it states

Originally Posted by ca
Along with your work permit, you need:
•a valid passport and
•an eTA (if you plan to travel to Canada by air)
and then goes on to say

Originally Posted by CA
If you received your initial work permit before August 1, 2015, you need to apply for an eTA if you haven’t already done so.

If you received your initial work permit on or after August 1, 2015, you already have an eTA. We automatically issued it to you when we approved your initial work permit. It’s valid for 5 years or until your passport expires. See your letter of introduction for details.
Which does say to refer to letter of introdcution for detauls

Are the ETA details on the letter of introduction?

If so, then it would seem that BA was correct that it needs the ETA
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Old Nov 4, 17, 4:32 pm
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Issued after Aug 2015. The 'letter of introduction' you submit in exchange for the official work permit document when you first enter Canada. So, nobody carries that letter (because you have to hand it in), but what it stated is just the above, automatically issued ETA attached to the passport used to apply. And I did not change passports since.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:05 pm
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It must have been so frustrating at LHR being told you weren't allowed to fly.

Given you had valid travel documents and were denied boarding why don't you make a claim against BA for the travel you had to pay to get to Canada? I mean by using MCOL, a chargeback from your Credit Card provider, etc

Last edited by CloudGazer; Nov 4, 17 at 5:21 pm
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:15 pm
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Sorry to hear you had problems demonstrating you have the required documents to enter Canada, I would take legal advice on this.

My understanding is that you still have an ETA number, which was given to you in the letter of introduction. It is a shame you didn't keep a copy of this reference, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I'm afraid your previous experience of what was accepted by BA or other carriers isn't much use at the time if BA were insisting on the ETA number, particularly if they discussed it with Canadian immigration who confirmed you needed the number; hope you manage to find a way to obtain it for your future travel.

Not sure how you figured BA have saved $600; was this the cost of your onward travel or the cost for the fuel for you and your travel for the difference in distance?

I would consider MCOL and see where you get to. Best of luck.

Last edited by navylad; Nov 4, 17 at 5:45 pm
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:21 pm
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You can find your ETA number at https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j...JfssoAjrgoyffz It sucks you were denied boarding though. They shouldn't need it.

My partner never needed to provide the number (A British Citizen).
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by flamboyant 1 View Post
...While BA saved some $600 (which I wanted to be reimbursed for), I am not going to book any flights on BA anymore and will encourage my colleagues and students to not do so either.

That's a good way of losing a Gold member.
I hope this does not happen too often.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, influencing your students for your own personal agenda seems a misuse of your position. As a part-time mature student I would not put up with that if my lecturers tried that on (which they wouldn't).
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:35 pm
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I am not sure if you have thought about a small claim's court? or seek advice from an immigration lawyer?

BA will not budge in this case. You need to communicate with them in a formal channel. A lawyer's letter or small claim's court would get their attention. However, from what Dave Noble and navylad's posts, I am not sure if it is worth it.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:43 pm
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I'm afraid if BA did contact the Canadian authorities and they advised BA you did not have the correct travel documents/leave to enter then issuing court proceedings against BA would be futile.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:48 pm
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Last edited by ahmetdouas; Nov 10, 17 at 7:40 am
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:49 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
unless ba were lying of course
Indeed, but the claimant would have to prove that they were.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
unless ba were lying of course
I doubt they would.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
I'm afraid if BA did contact the Canadian authorities and they advised BA you did not have the correct travel documents/leave to enter then issuing court proceedings against BA would be futile.
Fair point, but what also matters is what is being asked by BA. I did not hear that as it happened behind closed doors.

I always travel with all my documents (with what I was told by the officers too).

BA insisted also there that the work permit is not valid for travel. Only ETA or Permanent resident card they thought was acceptable.

And no, I did never see an ETA number on that introduction letter, only had a work permit number.

Permanent residence is done now too. So no more issue.

But as a matter of fact, if these documents are fine the very next day and later that week, that is a signal that they were sufficient.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 6:18 pm
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$600 was cost of onward travel, economy class (had book CW on BA). Really not much. Funny they make a bad situation worse. Customer certainly not king there.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by flamboyant 1 View Post
... But as a matter of fact, if these documents are fine the very next day and later that week, that is a signal that they were sufficient.
Correct, it appears you did have the correct entry clearance but BA's defence will be that they contacted the Canadian authorities and they confirmed that BA "... would be correct to deny you boarding on your flight to Canada. This was due to you only carrying a work permit, which doesn't authorise, we were told, re-entry into Canada".

I understand your frustration, but personally I wouldn't want to cause even greater frustration by instigating legal proceedings only to find yourself further out of pocket.
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