Old Aug 21, 2012, 9:51 PM
Asmar Asmar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Default Suing Turkish A. for not checking Visa to destination

19.12.2007 I travelled with my family a wife and 2 little daughters to Doha – Qatar thru Turkish airlines from Prague. We all had newly issued Czech ( European ) passports.
Begin at buying the tickets, we asked at the Turkish airlines agent in Prague that we need not have a visa ready we can get that at the Doha airport as all EU citizens.
We verified this from many 2 more sources, one in Qatar airport thru family members there.
Fine on the day we travelled, we checked in in at the Prague airport – noproblem.
Transit in Istanbul after 5 hours Transit we checked in again and boarded the plane, without any problem.
At Doha airport midnight – arrival.
A UK citizen ahead of us got her visa bought at the airport in front of our eyes.
We tried to do the same but were informed that this was not the case for our Czech passports, so we were refused Visas and a Turkish airlines officer was called to arrange for our return back to prague.
He was informed that the airline will be fined ( later we got information from people we know at the airport that they were fined 50000QRS on the spot for carrying people to a destination without proper visas. – according to international aviation laws.
At Doha airport – no sleeping arrangements at all, the local Turkish agent disappeared, we managed to get his 3 phone no.s and started calling, no response, that was repeated the next day ( Eid holidays 4 days of no work- the main reason for our trip to Qatar to meet family and friends for Eid).
We had no information when at all will the flight back be, it might take days or weeks.
We had to arrang for a flight to Dubai –maybe we can get in since it’s a holiday destination, or at least there is a hotel at the airport so the kids can get some sleep.
At Dubai again refused entry, but the hotel at the airport was at least of some help.
Spent 4 days in Dubai and on the last day offices in Qatar opened and my dad arranged for visas in a couple of hours and we travelled back to Qatar and allowed in.
Back in Prague I decided to sue Turkish Airlines. Have been doing that for the past 5 yrs.
Went thru the preliminary court case dismissed, since the ownus was on us to arrange for visas.
Went to a higher court on the basis that L9 of civil aviation laws puts the ownus on the airline not to board passengers without proper visas to destination. – hence the 50000QRS fine to the airline on the spot.
The Higher court acknowledged that this was correct and returned the case to the first court.
Again another judge at the first degree court after another year decided not to take into account the higher courts decision and to dismiss the case. Even though we asked the judge to ask the Qatari airport to verify the fine against Turkish – she refused to do so as she found it irrelevant.
We told her the whole case stands on this and she finds it irrelevant – we decide to go to the higher court again.
I will make a precedent with this it seems. If anyone knows of a similar case please let me know, I need all the help I can get against a huge corporate company.
- Turkish airlines failed to check our visas on 2 accounts ( prague and Istanbul), if they did we would not have to go thru all of this.
- Not disputing the fact that the ownus of arranging for visas was on us, but they treated us like cargo, they let us go on and if it works and we get it in fine , if not then no worries, we the passengers carry all responsibility , and no liability on the airlines - a small gamble hurts no one – WRONG
- Their agent in Qatar completely ignored us and our demands to know exactly when we would be travelling back, not did he help in arranging accommodation , nor did he answer the phone calls we were making to him on his personal and business no.s which we managed to get from the airport workers.
- This mistake from their staff cost me 100000CZk = 5000USD for the 4 days I spent at the airport including food, phone calls, hotel etc..plus a lot of psychological issues with my kids refusing to travel to Qatar – the country where we had the largest family members of grandfather / mother cousins etc
Old Aug 22, 2012, 7:14 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

I love this........people mad at the airline for NOT checking to see if they have the proper visas. If they had checked, they would have been denied boarding and we'd have a complaint about that too. Plenty of those complaints out there too.
Old Aug 22, 2012, 7:42 AM
Asmar Asmar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4

well.. if they have checked ( which is their duty to do so ) they would have saved themselves and passengers a lot of hastle and losses. Airlines should know better and they do know better which destinations require visas and which dont. after all they paid a fine at Doha airport of around 14000USD. which proves their responsibility.
plus we were told by them that we can get the visa at the airport of destination.
people are not cargo that they can carry on-board and see what would happen if they dont have visas.
Old Aug 22, 2012, 1:40 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

I am saying they do know and when they check and the passenger does NOT have the proper stamps in the passport and the airline denies boarding, there is screaming and yelling on the passenger's part as to why they are being denied. They paid for that ticket 3 months ago. You can't tell them they can't get on. It's a no win situation for the airline. Follow the rules, you're screwed, don't follow the rules, you're screwed too.
Old Aug 22, 2012, 5:55 PM
Asmar Asmar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4

yes i would shout and scream, the airliners would probably do the same at me and call me stupid. but in the end i wouldnt lose more than the ticket price.
don thave to spend 4 nights at the airport of a foreign country with no help, would lose 5000USD plus the psychological damage to the kids etc.. and the airlines would save on the fines they have paid at the destination airport, and the extra compensation which i hope i would be getting some day when i prove that the ownus was on them.

now if you have any experience with such situations i need to find out if a similar case was won anywhere in the world by the passengers, your help with that would be more than welcome .

the legal system here is shy to prove guilt on a big company, they think big means they know better. i am still dealing with law level judges. when it gets to a the higher court they return it to the lower court with pointers to take into account my arguments.and L9 administrative regulations.
Old Aug 23, 2012, 4:06 AM
Ombudsman Ombudsman is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 136

You can try to sue the airline but you'll find ity very difficult to find an attorney who will take your case on contingency so you'll probably be oaying for all legal fees uyoursel up front. The reason I say this is although the airline made an error in allowing you to board in Prague the onus is upon the traveler to secure all necessary documents and visas prior to travel. I'm sorry to say this is one battle you're probably not going to win. Additiomally, it was your choice to fly to Dubai where you were again refused entry. Which airline did you fly there? You never mentioned suing them. However, I digress. My point being that if an airline does carry a passenger without proper visas/docs for transit or entry at the destination, they are obligated to return you to your point of origin at no additional expense to you in addition to possibly facing a fine. I'm sorry if this is not what you want to hear but my advice is to chalk it up to experience and move on.
Contributing editor to one of the largest travel blogs on the internet.
Old Aug 23, 2012, 7:13 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

I agree that it is time to let this dispute go. Sometimes the hardest thing is to know when it is over. Your dispute has been to court twice before two separate Judge's and on both occasions they have found for the airline. Normally, a higher court would only send it back for re-consideration on a point of law, which was then re-considered and did not find in your favour.

You acknowledge that the onus for arranging visas is on the individual, and then say that the airline had no liability and took a small gamble at your expense. This mistake cost you $5,000 so was very costly to you. It also cost the airline $14,000 in a fine, so was a costly mistake for them to.

It seems both you and the airline made costly mistakes and both of you have had to pay. I found the list of exempt countries allowed to secure a visa on entry in Qatar within about 30 seconds using google, and the Czech Republic was not one of them. Both Turkish and you were in error and it cost both of you. I think it is time to chalk it up to experience and move on.
Old Aug 23, 2012, 7:55 AM
Asmar Asmar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4

thank you but i dont feel like giving it up. they made the gamble not me..and since they were find it is a proof that the onus was on them, otherwise qatar airport would have fined me.
the list of countries exempt from visa in qatar is something different from the countries which can get a visa at the airport..different issues.
i really found the lower court judges both very stupid in their argumentation, that i wished i would tell them to say that if it happened to them.
anyway I am looking for a precedent thru these forums, or i will try hard to make a precedent myself ..it will take some time but i am on it.
the higher court judge was not mistaken when she said that the higher rules and regulations L9 which governs all airlines as a higher law, was to be considered and judged by, not the rules and the regulations of the airlines itself.

its like my lawyer described it, when u go to a restaurant and the restaurant has its own rules say of smoking Hash, that does not mean its legal and the country law should be applied as a higher status that it is illegal to do so, even if the restaurant or cafe allows that. or otherwise for description purposes.

the lower courts considred just the rules and reg. of the airlines only.
Old Aug 23, 2012, 6:54 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 745

It's a lost cause. It's your responsibility, and yours alone to make sure your travel documents are up to date and proper.


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