Are airlines authorised to carry out a background check prior to check-in and deny you boarding?
My son reported to the check-in counter at Nairobi Airport to catch a flight to Quito through Amsterdam. He was asked few questions regarding his visa and employment, which he answered. However, he was denied boarding. When he asked why, they said we don't have to give you an explanation and he was asked to leave the airport after cancelling his ticket. The next day, an airline customer service executive told him that they were not happy with his background check.
The airline has not stated that visa or travel papers were the issue. When in the check in line he was asked where he has come from. He told them that he had come from DareSalaam and that he was working there with the One Acre Fund and also showed them his Tanzanian resident permit. About his education and he told them that he had graduated from BITS, Dubai with a degree in mechanical engineering. When they asked about his job in Tanzania, he told them that he was the country Logistics Lead. The Kenyan comment that it was odd for an engineer to do logistics.
He was then made to step to of the check-in line and asked to wait for the manager who turned up after the counter was closed. After discussing with the person who spoke to him, she said he would not be boarded. When asked on what grounds, she said she does not need to give an explanation. When asked again she said, I am done with you, you may leave the airport, and cancelled his ticket. He had to get a 3 day visa and find a place to sleep in town in the middle of the night. The KLM office in Nairobi the next day told him that his background check had a problem, no mention of visa specifics and problem with the background check was also not shared. He has filed a complaint with the airline.