Denied Boarding and Family Split

Old Feb 18, 20, 5:59 am
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Denied Boarding and Family Split

Dear Neighbours we will be gratefull for Your advices/comments/suggestions.

Our story in short (sorry vey long read).Our family holds Romanian passports and Russian as well.

We are currently living in UK since 2015, we have pre-settlement status.

Our Youngest son was born in UK Sep 2018. We could not obtain for him Romanian/EU passport as were told that our Russian marriage certificate must be legalised in Russia by Romanian embassy (marriage in Russia).

As Brexit was approaching fast, we obtained for him UK Birth Certificate and Russian passport in Edinburgh in Feb 2019. We could not obtain family card for him as Russian passport is not biometric.

We bought tickets Chisinau-Frankfurt-Manchester for Apr 2019 to fly back in UK with Lufthansa.

14 Apr 2019 Lufthansa Moldova refused to take us on board stating that our Youngest one needs visa for UK. We presented all our documents (our Romanian/EU passports, his UK Birth Certificate, our marriage certificate), even official documents from europa.eu regarding Non-EU family members of EU citizens.

I have contacted UK Border Control over the phone, I was told that they can not help without seeing any documents present.

So I had to pay re-booking fee for myself and eldest son to fly next day. I have approached UK Border Control officers in Manchester and in 3hours they issued entry permit for my youngest son without seeing his documents.

While I was sorting this – my youngest son was admitted in hospital with chest infection. You can imagine my feelings looking on him over the internet, how he was suffocating/suffering, with no chance to hug him and support my wife with my presence.



Once he recovered enough to have flight I paid re-booking fee for my wife and youngest son for same flight Chisinau-Frankfurt-Manchester. Guess what happened next – they been boarded in Chisinau, but again Lufthansa Frankfurt denied boring for him as he has no visa. Apparently Lufthansa Chisinau did not informed Lufthansa Frankfurt in time. So they been stuck in Frankfurt with no enough bottle milk for him as we did not expected another delay after UK Border Control intervention.

So 5 hours later Lufthansa found some sits for them on next flight to Manchester were I was waiting for them.

I contacted Lufthansa after all these happened. No one apologised and more than that I was told that my son was rejected “due to incorrect travel documents”.

I have contacted söp (as I was not sure with Brexit processes) in April 2019.

Yesterday I received their Conciliation Recommendation.

In short Lufthansa shall pay us 2050 GBP and consider repay of initial tickets and re-booking fees.



Dear neighbours/experts – do You think is it worth going in court and claim for violation of EU freedom of movement, claim our money back from tickets and re-booking fees (as delay was longer than 5 hours) and, damn, what about all these stress our family went through thankfully to Lufthansa?



Thank You in advance,



EU family

PS sorry if duplicate
Dr.Dre is offline  
Old Feb 18, 20, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by Dr.Dre View Post
You think is it worth going in court and claim for violation of EU freedom of movement
You will get nowhere with this argument. This matter is not about violation of fundamental EU rights.

LH is subject to EUR reg. 261/04 and this is the relevant legislation here - the question is you were rightfully denied boarding or not. Apparently the German authorities have already ruled in your favor. Have you requested LH to pay on the basis of the decision?

Anyway, these cases with pax being denied boarding due to improper travel documents or visa are difficult. You really can't blame the check-in agents for being very cautions as the fines are high if LH brings pax to e.g. UK with improper travel documents or without having checked travel documents adequately first.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 6:56 am
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Your post is a bit confusing, but it appears to me as though the GBP 2,050 award covers both the denial of boarding and delay under EC 261/2004 and that LH must also consider the initial ticket and rebooking fees. That seems to cover what you are considering suing for under a complex legal theory which won't likely apply to LH.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:13 am
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claim for violation of EU freedom of movement can only be directed against authorities, not v/ private persons such as LH.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by Dr.Dre View Post
In short Lufthansa shall pay us 2050 GBP and consider repay of initial tickets and re-booking fees.

Dear neighbours/experts – do You think is it worth going in court and claim for violation of EU freedom of movement, claim our money back from tickets and re-booking fees (as delay was longer than 5 hours) and, damn, what about all these stress our family went through thankfully to Lufthansa?
In short: What are you expecting?

Long: I'm actually surprised SÖP voted in your favor.

You went to board international flights from Non-Schengen to Schengen countries (or vice versa) without the required travel documents. If I understood you correctly technically your son is only Russian citizen and needs a Schengen and UK visa.

I guess what SÖP decided was, LH was right to refuse transport for him, but not for the rest of the family. Anyhow, since he is a minor, they also refused boarding for at least one accompanying adult. So, yes... they probably have to pay denied boarding for that person, but not for the minor Russian citizen. Probably all other respectable airlines would have done the same.

My advise, take the money and move on and get you son a Romanian or UK passport (or a Visa/permanent Resident card for UK and Schengen, should be easy enough)
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
You will get nowhere with this argument. This matter is not about violation of fundamental EU rights.

You really can't blame the check-in agents for being very cautions as the fines are high if LH brings pax to e.g. UK with improper travel documents or without having checked travel documents adequately first.
I have checked in many ocasions with UK Border Control and Lufthansa inclusive (over the phone) before the flight, and oficial information from ec.europa.eu clearly states that free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45.
Who can benefit from that:
  • Jobseekers, i.e. EU nationals who move to another EU country to look for a job, under certain conditions
  • EU nationals working in another EU country
  • EU nationals who return to their country of origin after having worked abroad.
  • Family members of the above.
What is diffictul to understand in this? If this fundamental why it is not applied to EU Company?

Originally Posted by fassy View Post
In short: What are you expecting?

Long: I'm actually surprised SÖP voted in your favor.
Thank You for advice.

What SOP actually said:
"The complainant Youngest son was denied boarding on both flights apparently due to missing a visa. As a child of parents with Romanian and Russian
citizenship, he by birth became a citizen of said countries, thus enjoying freedom of movement as an EU national. While he did not yet have a Romanian passport, he did have an identity card (his Russian passport) and was traveling with his parents, who are EU nationals and who were carrying all necessary documents with them to prove their relations (birth certificate, marriage certificate). Furthermore, the complainant was ultimately granted entry to the United Kingdom.
On the whole, there are strong doubts regarding reasonable grounds to deny boarding"

Last edited by oliver2002; Feb 18, 20 at 7:23 am Reason: please use multiquote
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:30 am
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The German authorities have confirmed that this is denied boarding situation (which is a bit surprising to me, but again, I'm not the one to decide this matter); the authorities have not stated anything about your EU rights being violated.

As stated above I suggest that you ask LH to fulfill the decision of the German authorities. That is what you are entitled to. There is absolutely no basis for litigation against LH (for further compensation than already awarded to you?) on the basis of LH violating your EU rights. Those claims can be aimed at EU member states, authorities etc for implementing rules/regulation or having a practice that in general restrict the freedom of movement, but not private individuals or companies. A specific decision of LH not to allow your son to board the flight due to fears of him not having proper travel documents is very far from denying you/your family of EU rights. You will laugh out of court if you pursue this "violation of EU freedom" argument against LH so please consider this carefully (and better seek legal advice from someone qualified in EU law/rights) before you follow this path (for your own sake)
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Last edited by SK AAR; Feb 18, 20 at 7:39 am
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Dr.Dre View Post
I have checked in many ocasions with UK Border Control and Lufthansa inclusive (over the phone) before the flight, and oficial information from ec.europa.eu clearly states that free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45.
Who can benefit from that:
  • Jobseekers, i.e. EU nationals who move to another EU country to look for a job, under certain conditions
  • EU nationals working in another EU country
  • EU nationals who return to their country of origin after having worked abroad.
  • Family members of the above.
What is diffictul to understand in this? If this fundamental why it is not applied to EU Company?
It says "can benefit" but not "will always benefit". Just think about all those EU people marrying a Russian or Thai girls. Very difficult and a very long process to get them over to Europe. Fact is, to cross a border you need valid papers. Free movement or not.

Originally Posted by Dr.Dre View Post
Thank You for advice.

What SOP actually said:
"The complainant Youngest son was denied boarding on both flights apparently due to missing a visa. As a child of parents with Romanian and Russian
citizenship, he by birth became a citizen of said countries, thus enjoying freedom of movement as an EU national. While he did not yet have a Romanian passport, he did have an identity card (his Russian passport) and was traveling with his parents, who are EU nationals and who were carrying all necessary documents with them to prove their relations (birth certificate, marriage certificate). Furthermore, the complainant was ultimately granted entry to the United Kingdom.
On the whole, there are strong doubts regarding reasonable grounds to deny boarding"
Well, I think this is a borderline ruling which in court might be challenged. If I show up at the UK border just with my German birth-certificate, and my German parents... they would send me away. Same if I try to board a plane to the UK in Germany just having my drivers license on me and no passport.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:39 am
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As stated above then I suggest that you ask LH to fulfill the decision of the German authorities.
Sorry! Did I miss something here? Which German authorities?

SÖP is not a "German Authority". It is just an arbitration body. LH is free to refuse any ruling by SÖP. In other word: a ruling of SÖP is worth nothing.

Our Youngest son was born in UK Sep 2018. We could not obtain for him Romanian/EU passport as were told that our Russian marriage certificate must be legalised in Russia by Romanian embassy (marriage in Russia).
[..]
Dear neighbours/experts – do You think is it worth going in court and claim for violation of EU freedom of movement, claim our money back from tickets and re-booking fees (as delay was longer than 5 hours) and, damn, what about all these stress our family went through thankfully to Lufthansa?
Yes, but you need to claim that money from the Romanian government.
Your son obtained the Romanian citizenship by birth due to at least parent being a Romanian citizen.
I don't know the exact law of Romania. But refusing a Romanian citizen the issuance of a Romanain passport, is a major violation.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:41 am
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Indeed, I'm not convinced that the decision of the German authorities will be upheld if challenged in court.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:41 am
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@Dr.Dre: As others previously suggested, be glad that LH will pay (some) of your extra expenses due to the SÖP decision. Be aware that If you sue, you'll have to pay your German lawyer if you lose, and this will be rather expensive, if you win, it will be free for you of course. Can you be certain that you'll win? When I was a graduate student I sued somebody in Germany because my lawyer was 100% certain we'd win. The end result was that I lost, and I had to pay all court expenses plus my lawyer and another two. Since that day I never go close to a courthouse, I'm scared I'll have to pay again So even if you believe you're right, only sue LH if you are certain to win, they employ their own lawyers, you don't. To most of us in this forum, this case is not as simple as you think it to be.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:44 am
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Indeed, I'm not convinced that the decision of the German authorities will be upheld if challenged in court.
Again, SÖP is not a "German authority" of any kind.

14 Apr 2019 Lufthansa Moldova refused to take us on board stating that our Youngest one needs visa for UK. We presented all our documents (our Romanian/EU passports, his UK Birth Certificate, our marriage certificate), even official documents from europa.eu regarding Non-EU family members of EU citizens.
That was really naive and reckless from your side.
You can be certain that the contract agents in Chisinau are pretty well instructed on documentation requirements, because visa problems are a daily occurance there. Virtually every Moldovan knowns about the in-and-outs about Schengen and UK entry requirements.
Presenting a Russian Passport without a UK Visa guarantees denied boarding. Lufthansa is not liable for anything.
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Last edited by oliver2002; Feb 18, 20 at 8:30 am Reason: please use multiquote
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:49 am
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Admittedly I have no knowledge of legal regime/structure of SöP. I assumed it was an authority similar to the CAA or other government body that deals with the passenger claims. I apologise if this assumption was wrong.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:51 am
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I have approached UK Border Control officers in Manchester and in 3hours they issued entry permit for my youngest son without seeing his documents.
What document/permit did the UK Border Control issue there? An EEA Family Permit?
Its very unusual that such an entry clearance is issued without the passport being present.

Guess what happened next – they been boarded in Chisinau, but again Lufthansa Frankfurt denied boring for him as he has no visa. Apparently Lufthansa Chisinau did not informed Lufthansa Frankfurt in time.
OK! What document did your son present at the boarding gate in Frankfurt to the gate agent?
If he presented a valid UK Entry Clearance (e.g. EEA Family Permit), then LH did improperly denied him boarding.

Again -> what was that document?
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Old Feb 18, 20, 7:53 am
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For once, warakorn, your words are well spoken and fully agreeable.

Thank you for point out/explaining the Söp to me.
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