Denied entry - return flight?

Old Dec 13, 18, 12:01 pm
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Denied entry - return flight?

This is purely out of interest on my part as it happened to someone else, not me.

I was on a BA flight yesterday back from Russia, sitting at the front of CE so could overhear the crew. When boarding it appeared we were waiting for a last-minute person and the story that they were discussing was that someone had come over from London on their inbound flight but had been turned back at immigration because their Russian visa validity actually started the following day - seemingly not spotted in checks at LHR - so was being put straight back on the same plane as an effective B2B. Any plot holes in the above are doubtless due to Chinese whispers between the gate, crew and me eavesdropping. The person in question at least didn't seem too upset when they were welcomed back onto the plane with "couldn't stay away from us then?" and similar from the crew.

This got me wondering - how does that work in terms of ticketing? Do BA have some responsibility to take you back if the destination country won't let you in, do they charge you for the flight and it is the full walk-up fare? What happens if you can't pay? What if the flights back are full for the rest of the day/several days - will they bump someone else in order to avoid leaving you stranded airside? If you came over on the last flight of the day and that plane is night-stopping, and assuming the country won't let you in temporarily, do you just have to hang out airside overnight? Will they use alternative carriers or is that entirely down to you to sort out and pay for?

Always nice to know what might happen in the event that I make a similar cock-up, which is never completely beyond the realms of possibility!
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Old Dec 13, 18, 12:09 pm
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The authorities will decide how to return you where you come from, typically on the career that brought you which could charge you or just use your return coupon. If no flight or they are full, authorities will decide to either let you ina hôtel for the night with an obligation to return for your flight, let you hang around in the transit zone or place you in the custody of immigration authorities until you can be flown back (not nice)
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Old Dec 13, 18, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
The authorities will decide how to return you where you come from, typically on the career that brought you which could charge you or just use your return coupon. If no flight or they are full, authorities will decide to either let you ina hôtel for the night with an obligation to return for your flight, let you hang around in the transit zone or place you in the custody of immigration authorities until you can be flown back (not nice)
Interesting, thank you! I shall endeavour to avoid this scenario, of course...
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Old Dec 13, 18, 5:59 pm
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I always thought the carrier that brought the person to the destination is obliged to return that person for its “failure” to ensure sufficient right of entry before carrying the person in the first place. No fee is imposed on the person turned back. This I gleaned from a relative who used to work in an airline (not BA).
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Old Dec 14, 18, 1:06 am
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And I think there would be a big fine for BA for allowing the passenger to board at LHR without the correct paperwork. Isn't it £2k or something around that figure?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 1:22 am
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Yes, the immigration carriers liability act and is the reason check-in staff are so keen to verify a passenger's eligibility for entry clearance and, in some circumstances, will deny boarding. Airlines are fined and have to carry the burden of return.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 2:28 am
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Originally Posted by DYKWIA View Post
And I think there would be a big fine for BA for allowing the passenger to board at LHR without the correct paperwork. Isn't it £2k or something around that figure?
£2000 is the UK's fine for bringing an improperly documented passenger to the UK, but it varies by country e.g. up to $4300 in the US and up to C$3200 in Canada. No idea how much Russia would fine.


Originally Posted by carrotjuice View Post
I always thought the carrier that brought the person to the destination is obliged to return that person for its “failure” to ensure sufficient right of entry before carrying the person in the first place. No fee is imposed on the person turned back. This I gleaned from a relative who used to work in an airline (not BA).
But what about if the person did have sufficient documents but was denied entry for some other reason, e.g. American tourist (who doesn't need to apply for permission in advance) denied entry to the UK because the UKBF officer didn't believe their story?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by :D! View Post
But what about if the person did have sufficient documents but was denied entry for some other reason, e.g. American tourist (who doesn't need to apply for permission in advance) denied entry to the UK because the UKBF officer didn't believe their story?
Then there would be no fine applied to the airline as the person is being denied entry for reasons other than not having the correct documentation. Airlines are not required to check that the passenger has e.g. sufficient funds or is not going to apply for a job etc
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Old Dec 14, 18, 5:03 am
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An old acquaintance of mine also flew to russia in slightly different circumstances, she had an expired russian passport (discovered at the airport) in addition to her british passport. BA agreed to let her fly, but then russia got very difficult with her on the other end, saying then that she would be unable to leave on her british passport since it wouldn't have an entrance stamp in it, and a replacement russian one would take a long time. She elected to return on the same flight, and ba were happy to use her return flight several days in the future as her same day return.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 6:37 am
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A colleague of mine had a similar, albeit slightly more uncomfortable experience in Russia a few years back. He flew overnight to DME and upon arrival found that his passport was missing altogether (it later transpired that he had managed to leave it at the check in desk and the staff didn't notice until after the flight had departed). Morning flight back to LHR was full, and Russian authorities had put him in a secured area, which had a toilet and a couple of plastic seats, where he had to stay for 12 hours until the evening flight back, and then escorted him onto the plane. Suffice to say he has been quite diligent with his travel documents ever since!
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Old Dec 14, 18, 6:59 am
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If a passenger is denied entry for lack of proper documents, the carrier transporting him inbound is responsible for the outbound. This is considered a "must fly" and, on orders of the local authorities, a carrier will deny boarding to some passenger on a full flight to accomodate the "must fly". The carrier is subject to a fine, may be required to pay for the costs associated with security, e.g. detention if that extreme, and during more hostile times, the inbound aircraft held until the passenger is processed.

If the passenger is denied entry for other reasons not apparent on the documents, it is generally the responsibility of the country denying entry to arrange and pay for outbound transportation.

Most carriers' COC require that the passenger accept the financial responsibility for any adverse consequences to the carrier as it is always the passenger's responsibility to be properly documented.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:01 am
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Surely this passenger could have stayed at the airside hotel until the next day when his visa became valid?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Surely this passenger could have stayed at the airside hotel until the next day when his visa became valid?
I believe the airside hotel you're referring to is Terminal E at SVO, not at DME. It does seem ridiculous though that they wouldn't allow him to sit airside in the airport until midnight.
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Old Dec 14, 18, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
The authorities will decide how to return you where you come from, typically on the career that brought you which could charge you or just use your return coupon. If no flight or they are full, authorities will decide to either let you ina hôtel for the night with an obligation to return for your flight, let you hang around in the transit zone or place you in the custody of immigration authorities until you can be flown back (not nice)
I've always had the impression that the carrier is obligated to return the person even if doing so means that they must VDB/IDB another passenger. However, in the case of Russia, they might need to be sure to pick someone for when the additional day would not mean an overstay of that person's visa.

Also, if the carrier doesn't have a flight returning the same day (which I suspect is generally not the case for Russia), would the carrier be obligated to rebook the person on some other airline?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Surely this passenger could have stayed at the airside hotel until the next day when his visa became valid?
Originally Posted by NFH View Post
I believe the airside hotel you're referring to is Terminal E at SVO, not at DME. It does seem ridiculous though that they wouldn't allow him to sit airside in the airport until midnight.
I didn't specify, but this was St Petersburg (LED) not either Moscow airport. I don't think there's an airside hotel there. I believe the 16.45 BA 879 to LHR that I was on is the last flight to London of the day, so possibly they'd have held us back longer if necessary to get him back on board - although there was a slight delay already for late arrival of inbound, so the additional wait after the rest of us had boarded was probably only 5-10 minutes, just enough for me to wonder what was happening and start to pay more attention to the crew chat.

LED doesn't seem to stop for much of a break overnight - the last international arrival tonight is 23.00 and then something comes in at 00.10 from Minsk and 01.40 from Riga, so it can't be that immigration all clock off. I agree it does seem a little unyielding to not let him hang around until then and process him at 00.01 on the correct day. However I guess leniency is not a key feature of Russian immigration.

Thanks everyone for your insights! I'm thankfully in the position these days where I would have access to sufficient funds to buy a walk-up ticket home if necessary (painful as the cost might be) but it's nice to know the airline would have to sort it in the first instance anyway. Not that I am planning on doing this...
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