Bahrain plans smashed

Old Jan 31, 13, 12:28 pm
  #1  
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Bahrain plans smashed

I'm in the middle of an Avios redemption 1st class trip from SFO-DXB, around the Gulf, and back. Fantastic opportunity, and I thank BA for making it possible, along with lots of good advice from folks on this Board.

Just wanted to pass on a quick bit of info about Bahrain - The situation there seems a lot more tenuous than I had heard about. I had scheduled an extra long layover there today in order to have enough time to hire a taxi/limo and cruise into town, hopefully see the Qalat al Bahrain & museum, and a few other sites, then zip back in plenty of time for my flight to Abu Dhabi. I've done similar quick trips plenty of times all over the world and never had an issue.

Once I got to Bahrain immigration checkpoint however, they started making every excuse in the world about why I couldn't leave the airport. First they said that the airline wouldn't let me, so I went over to the airline and got a stamp saying they were ok with it, then they told me I didn't have enough time and that I'd miss my flight. I told them I'd flown over one million miles in my life and I hadn't missed a flight yet, and since I was homeward bound, I had extra incentive not to miss this flight. I didn't point out that it was really none of their business if I missed the flight...

They finally just took my passport and left me alone for over 2 hours, and finally came back and said I could only leave the airport if I had an address where I was staying. I again explained that I didn't have an address, since I was In Transit, which is clearly marked on their visa application as an option. They held firm. So I wrote down the address of the airport, and handed the application back to them. They seemed flustered for awhile about what to do, then figured out what the address was and were not amused. They kept my passport and left me stuck on the chairs in front of their office till my flight was ready to board. Fortunately I had my Kindle with me and a couple of books que'd up.

It seemed obvious to me that they are extremely reluctant to let westerners in - God forbid we sympathize with their poor populace, or write about what we see there. Neither of which I had planned on doing... but now...

The point? Don't try a quick layover in Bahrain unless you've got some clever up your sleeve, and give a little prayer for the folks that are living under that kind of day to day ridiculousness.

That is all.
Jliles is offline  
Old Jan 31, 13, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Jliles View Post
a little prayer
That's how all this sort of trouble started in the first place!
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Old Jan 31, 13, 1:14 pm
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Why did you not just give them the name of a hotel? They could then have ticked their box and all would be well. For future reference there is a Sheraton, Intercontinental and Ritz Carlton in Bahrain amongst other options Most travellers would not know the street address of the hotel they were going to off the top of their head either.
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Old Jan 31, 13, 1:44 pm
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Jliles. Thanks for the insight from the perspective of someone travelling in their leisure time. We do have some people on the board who travel in and out of there for work on a reguar basis, who might offer some additional pointers about the whys and wherefores that might have instigated these behaviours. (I am assuming that you were already informed about your eligibility to leave the airport when in transit - on a quick look it looks like a visit visa is necessary if you are leaving the airport?)
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Old Jan 31, 13, 2:02 pm
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This is probably best discussed over on the Middle East board where this subject comes up from time to time, and where the OP's experience will provide a useful datapoint.

I'll ask a mod to move it over.

As an aside, I tend to follow the various British embassies on Facebook, who provide useful info for ex-pats and visitors, as the political climate changes.
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Old Jan 31, 13, 11:54 pm
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I agree, just give them the name of a hotel and they won't notice. (If you don't want to lie, then just go to that hotel as your first destination.)

I have never had a problem at the airport there, though the situation is very volatile. There was a small explosion (http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Mid...rain-govt.ashx) which made regional news yesterday; that could have been the reason for a heightened scrutiny.
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Old Feb 2, 13, 9:59 am
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Being "smart" ( giving them the airport address) with anyone in authority in the Middle East is not a good idea. Just be grateful you weren't locked up.
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Old May 11, 13, 6:16 pm
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Bahrain plans smashed

Hello everyone I am flying to muscat Oman next week and have a day in Baharin from8 pm till 8 pm next day I am a U S citizen and would like to go to explore Baharin for a day can I get visa at the airport in Baharin and muscat also how safe are those countries right now any information provided will be greatly appreciated
Thanks
gotofly is offline  
Old May 12, 13, 4:22 am
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I was also held up at BAH immigration on a trip last year (see this trip report).

After arriving my passport was taken and I was asked to take a seat. Fortunately I only waited ten minutes or so, but it was rather disconcerting.

I doubt that I will be back for tourism unless absolutely necessary. Which is a great shame because the Diplomat is one of my favourite hotels.
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Old May 12, 13, 4:24 am
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Originally Posted by gotofly View Post
Hello everyone I am flying to muscat Oman next week and have a day in Baharin from8 pm till 8 pm next day I am a U S citizen and would like to go to explore Baharin for a day can I get visa at the airport in Baharin and muscat also how safe are those countries right now any information provided will be greatly appreciated
Thanks
Both MCT and BAH are really quite safe provided that you take the normal precautions due when travelling.

However I would consider getting a visa in advance.

Stay at the Diplomat (see my trip report).
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Old May 12, 13, 1:21 pm
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Bahrain plans smashed

I just applied for a Evisa let's see what happens
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