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I traveled last week to New Delhi, India. When we reached passport control / immigration we discovered that my valid e-visa had my old passport's number (my travel agent by mistake used the old passport number). The rest was all fine. I was refused entry to India and they sent me back after like 32 hours at the airport.

My questions are:

  1. Can I blame the airline that let me board without checking my visa at the point of origin (Tel Aviv). Can I claim also compensation due to the 32 hours of trouble?
  2. According to IATA, Air India needs to send me back at their expense.
  3. I need to go back to India and I have already a new e-visa. Can I demand that Air India issues a new ticket for free?
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    Your best recourse is probably to take this up with your travel agent, tbh. You might not get anything out of them, either, but it's at least an avenue worth exploring. Their job is to make sure to get all of this stuff right so that you can just travel without having to worry about it. There really isn't any other good reason to pay a travel agent if they're just going to make the same noob mistakes you would have made without them. – J... Aug 26 '18 at 14:12
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    You can demand anything. Doesn't mean you will get a penny from them. The fault is yours and your agents. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer Aug 27 '18 at 0:42
  • You did not specify where you and the travel agent were when the error occurred. In some locations, you can file in small claims court for what the error cost you. And knowledge of that possibility might motivate the agent to make it good. On the other hand, can they argue in defense that you should not have even given them the old passport (if they even bother to show up in court)? And in many places the standard "anything you don't like is not our fault" contract will NOT be accepted by the court. – WGroleau Aug 27 '18 at 16:51
41

The answers to your questions can be found in Air India's Conditions of Carriage, which you agreed to when you purchased the air ticket. Specifically:

  1. Can I blame the airline that let me board without checking my visa at the point of origin (Tel Aviv). Can I claim also compensation due to the 32 hours trouble?

No. Article 14.1 states that it is your responsibility, not the airline or the travel agent's, to ensure you are properly documented, including making sure the relevant visas are linked to the correct passport. This responsibility remains with you even if you permit another person to apply for such documentation on your behalf.

  1. According to IATA Air India needs to send me back on their expenses.

This is incorrect. Article 14.3 states that you are responsible for paying for the expenses of your removal. If you have purchased a return ticket, this is typically done by using the return portion of your ticket to send you back.

It is possible that Air India may have been fined by the Indian Government for not checking your visa prior to boarding. Under Article 14.4, Air India has the right to recover these fines from you.

  1. I need to go back to India and I have already a new e-visa in place.Can I demand that Air India will issue the new ticket for free?

You can always demand. However, given the two points above, it is very unlikely that Air India will accommodate them.

It should be noted that these types of conditions are typical for all airlines, not just Air India.

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    If Air India recovers these fines from OP, the ticket price may be the last thing on his mind. I don't know the fines in India, but in the rest of the world those can get pretty heavy. – Mast Aug 26 '18 at 13:40
  • Also, note that Air India is (currently) owned by the Indian government, so they may only have to pay a reduced fine or not pay a fine. – gparyani Aug 27 '18 at 3:29
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You are looking at a contract that is none of your business. Yes, the IATA rules are binding between the airline and the airport. If a passenger is refused entry at the airport, the airline, not the airport, is responsible for deportation. However, you are not a party of this contract.

The airline has a binding agreement with the person that booked the flight (depending on jurisdiction and contract, either you or the travel agent), called conditions of carriage. During booking, one has to accept these conditions. They allow the airline to recover costs they incurred in such an event. Since you booked through a travel agent, either your travel agent did book without notifying you about the conditions of carriage, or they did, but you didn't read them (maybe even signed without reading). Also, all travel agents I know have own terms of service, which should tell you how much liability they take. Furthermore, depending on jurisdiction, the terms of service or conditions of carriage may be fully or partly overruled by local consumer protection laws.

Your recommended route is to talk constructively to your travel agent about their mistake and how they may fix it; if that fails, to search for jurisdiction-specific landmark decisions, and then lawyer up and go to small claims court if you're willing to take the risk.

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    The requirement for travellers to check their paperwork is pretty much universal, so I'd be surprised if the OP gets much out of small claims court other than the cost of e-visa application. – Dmitry Grigoryev Aug 27 '18 at 10:51
  • My experience in small claims court is that the judge does what he/she wants, contract be damned. – WGroleau Aug 27 '18 at 16:54
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You did not specify where you and the travel agent were when the error occurred. In USA, it might be possible to file in small claims court for what the error cost you. Or knowledge of the possibility might motivate the agent to make it good.

On the other hand, can they argue in defense that you should not have even given them the old passport?

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    I would downvote as well if I had enough rep on this site. The problem is, you haven't actually answered the question. You've taken a guess (with nothing to back it up) that maybe if you were in the US you might be able to take it to court, and you've suggested the agent may try to argue you shouldn't have given them the old passport. None of that answers the question. That would be great information to include in a comment, but it's not a good answer. – Clonkex Aug 27 '18 at 4:32
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    Also, most people refuse to comment why they downvoted for good reason. Explaining why you downvoted exposes you to some pretty common attacks, such as abusive comment replies and mass downvoting. It happens all the time and people get tired of being attacked and abused for trying to help the user whose post they downvoted, so they stop commenting. Downvotes are voting down the content of the post, not the user, but it's frustrating and upsetting to be downvoted and even the nicest of people can lash out at commentors after receiving downvotes. There's a reason voting is anonymous. – Clonkex Aug 27 '18 at 4:48
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    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Jan Doggen Aug 27 '18 at 15:11
  • @JanDoggen provided a reasonable response (though I feel I have addressed the OP's situations with a useful option). If an answer is wrong, say so and downvote. If it's not helpful, say so and downvote. If an answer offers something the OP explicitly said he/she didn't want, say so and downvote. If it offers something the OP hadn't thought of, consider whether or not its helpful. If some thin-skinned jerk retaliates, they'll eventually either smarten up or get deleted. Meanwhile, other folks' votes will cancel them out. As for this one, I will move it to a comment. – WGroleau Aug 27 '18 at 16:48

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