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Alternatives when airline refuses to board due to passport's nationality.

Alternatives when airline refuses to board due to passport's nationality.

Old Sep 9, 2014, 8:41 pm
  #1  
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Alternatives when airline refuses to board due to passport's nationality.

Hi,

I booked a flight on price line, JFK-london direct air India. It turned out that the flight is code share with Kuwait airlines (which I discovered only when I got to the airport). Kuwait airlines didn't board me, as I have an Israeli passport and as explained Kuwait government doesn't recognize Israel as a state. They were kind enough to book me a ticket on British airways instead. But my ticket back is still Kuwait airlines. Air India are not picking up the phone. Priceline have no idea what to do. What do you think I should do in order to increase my chances of getting back to NYC in 4 days as planned with minimal financial damage? I'm boarding the BA flight to London in a few minutes.

Any thoughts will be appreciated. Please avoid any comments suggesting me being dumb, naive, deserving it or whatever that is not helping me to get back to NYC, like happened in a similar thread on flyertalk back in 2003.

Thank you for your help,
Dina
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Old Sep 9, 2014, 9:01 pm
  #2  
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I'm tempted to say this is Priceline's responsibility. They need to contact Air India to determine how to get you back home.

I haven't used Priceline to buy a plane ticket in probably 16 years. Do they require you to enter passport information before bidding on a ticket? I wonder how much visibility Priceline has with codeshares.
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Old Sep 9, 2014, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by pseudoswede
I'm tempted to say this is Priceline's responsibility.
You'd be correct.

Originally Posted by pseudoswede
I wonder how much visibility Priceline has with codeshares.
100%.
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Old Sep 9, 2014, 9:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Dinka
Hi,

I booked a flight on price line, JFK-london direct air India. It turned out that the flight is code share with Kuwait airlines (which I discovered only when I got to the airport). Kuwait airlines didn't board me, as I have an Israeli passport and as explained Kuwait government doesn't recognize Israel as a state. They were kind enough to book me a ticket on British airways instead. But my ticket back is still Kuwait airlines. Air India are not picking up the phone. Priceline have no idea what to do. What do you think I should do in order to increase my chances of getting back to NYC in 4 days as planned with minimal financial damage? I'm boarding the BA flight to London in a few minutes.

Any thoughts will be appreciated. Please avoid any comments suggesting me being dumb, naive, deserving it or whatever that is not helping me to get back to NYC, like happened in a similar thread on flyertalk back in 2003.

Thank you for your help,
Dina
Buy another ticket. Nothing much else you can do.
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Old Sep 9, 2014, 9:46 pm
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Somebody is violating a contract here and it's not you. Can you ask Kuwaiti airline to put you on another flight in the return trip as well?
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 5:32 am
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Is the BA flight out of your own pocket or they simply moved you to that flight?
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 5:39 am
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Flight booked from kayak, when I called from my mobile they recognized I have a flight in the voice mail, but the booking went through price line, which emailed me the ticket. Couldn't reach air India while in states, price line have no idea what to do, suggested to try and refund the the whole ticket if air India are willing to do so. I'm going to approach Kuwait airlines in Heathrow now, let's see how that works. I can't make calls from here, roaming is too expensive and data is low speed.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 6:32 am
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I would think Kuwait airlines would rebook you to BA again when you showed up for your return flight. My guess is they have a standard procedure for this as your saw on your outbound.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by pseudoswede
I'm tempted to say this is Priceline's responsibility.
Why? They issued the ticket as requested.

Originally Posted by muishkin
Somebody is violating a contract here and it's not you. Can you ask Kuwaiti airline to put you on another flight in the return trip as well?
True, he isn't violating a contract. Kuwait Air has been pretty helpful with me in the past, but I'm on an American passport. Given the Israeli passport it wouldn't surprise me if they simply refused to talk to him.

I think his best bet, if he has time, is to work with Air India in Heathrow. If that doesn't work, but another ticket and get a refund from Priceline.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by humanoid94
I would think Kuwait airlines would rebook you to BA again when you showed up for your return flight. My guess is they have a standard procedure for this as your saw on your outbound.
I would hope so, and previously that is indeed what they have done. It's actually been useful to earn miles in a useful program on the relative cheap as the Kuwait Air flight is frequently the cheapest service on this route.

If the airline refuses, the airline is subject to at least the penalties under EC261/2004 -- for the return portion of the flight anyway.

It would be great if the US would have made an effort to make it a condition of service (to and from the US) that an airline with such service cannot exclude destination/connection-admissible passengers on the basis of merely nationality/citizenship.

Most Priceline tickets are bought just like they are on Orbitz or Expedia or Travelocity -- that is no bidding involved, and most customers for flights booked there know what they are getting before they purchase the ticket.

Originally Posted by Tchiowa
Given the Israeli passport it wouldn't surprise me if they simply refused to talk to him.
Read the OP.

It indicates rather clearly that they talk to people. The OP even mentions that he was rebooked after showing up at checkin.

In London, at the airport, the OP should go to the operating airline counter very early in the check in process -- 3-4 hours before -- and expect to be rebooked and/or otherwise compensated under EC 261/2004. They've seen this numerous times before and talk to people. It usually works out well enough, but it is more of an issue to collect under EC261/2004 than to get a same-day rebooking and moving on.

Last edited by GUWonder; Sep 10, 2014 at 8:41 am
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 8:55 am
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Well, the immediate problem of how OP gets/got to London is one thing. I'm actually more interested in the bigger picture. Can KU do this?

I'm not particularly familiar with DOT regulations. My opinion goes back and forth on this. On one hand, if Kuwait doesn't recognize the existence of Israel, then, I suppose that, at least technically, from KU's perspective the OP is traveling without a passport.

OTOH, the passport which the OP is carrying, though not valid in the eyes of the carrier (KU), is valid in the eyes of the destination country, in this case, the U.K. In order to prevent deportation, a passenger only has to have a passport/visa which is valid for entry into the destination of the flight. And when the airline checks for a valid passport/visa when you're checking in, it's checking to see that you will be admitted at the destination and that the airline won't be stuck with transporting you back. Clearly the OP had a passport which was valid in the U.K.

So I'd start with the DOT and take the position that you had a valid ticket and a passport which was valid for admission to the destination country of the flight.

I, for one, will be most interested to see what type of response you get. Please keep us informed.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by pseudoswede
Do they require you to enter passport information before bidding on a ticket?
They don't have any means to enter passport information up through and including the point where you enter your CC info and click "Buy My Tickets Now", at least.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 9:24 am
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OP needs to deal with two separate issues. Neither the threat of DOT nor EU action is going to build him an aircraft to fly him back to the USA. Thus,

1. Figure out how to get back to the USA. It seems that KU deals with this issue at a functional level and will do so again. That is what I would do now. I would start with a call to KU noting that KU had been helpful at JFK. Would they please do the same for the return.

2. Once back home, I would pursue the DOT angle. Whether Kuwait (not the airline, but the government) recognizes Israel is not material to the purpose of a document check outbound from the USA. The USA does not maintain exit immigration controls. Rather, carriers check documents in order to protect themselves against having a passenger denied entry on the other end. If OP's documents were sufficient for his admission to the UK, that is the sole area of legitimate inquiry. If KU denied boarding because its government does not recognize the government of the passport issuer, DOT may well uphold a claim for IDB. The amount will be determined by the delay occasioned.

3. Same thing for the return. If OP's documents are good for his entry to the USA and KU denies him boarding, that would seem to trigger EC 261/2004 compensation.

So - Start with the practical and get yourself home. Then get to the geopolitical stuff.

Last edited by Often1; Sep 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 11:03 am
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Sadly, I have no advise to give. I am curious though if the initial booking website (Priceline?) requires you to input your official Nationality. If so, the I'd assume they are to blame for not having these publicly announced international travel restrictions hard coded into the website as a warning, or better yet, a total prevention for booking this itinerary with this airline.
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Old Sep 10, 2014, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by Lostabroad
Sadly, I have no advise to give. I am curious though if the initial booking website (Priceline?) requires you to input your official Nationality. If so, the I'd assume they are to blame for not having these publicly announced international travel restrictions hard coded into the website as a warning, or better yet, a total prevention for booking this itinerary with this airline.
They do not require it, at least not prior to authorizing the purchase and charge to the credit card.

I think it's poor of Priceline to utilize an airline (not sure if this is the only one) that has a practice of not boarding citizens from some nations, for its blind bidding service. Its T&Cs make no mention of any such possibility. There is a link during the process to "partner" airlines - which ends up being characterized as a "sample" and not all-inclusive. KU isn't among the sample list in any event.

All that said, Often1's advice is the most cogent to the immediate problem for the OP. I can't think of anything else to add to that.
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