My father and I, both Canadian citizens, were denied to board a direct Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Toronto non-stop without any prior warning or information. Literally, at the gate, we were told that we were put on a no-fly list by Homeland Security because my father and I own a cargo business together located in eastern Turkey. Apparently, the area was suddenly declared a red zone (danger zone) and all business owners in the district were put on a no-fly list.

The only way we were able to make it back to Canada was via Scandinavian northern routes flying close to the Arctic. Cost thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours and months in moral and mental pain. We even had an issue sending my 1-year-old daughter on a flight with her mother to visit Turkey after that. I was told my one-year-old daughter's name was put on a no-fly list; when I heard this, I just felt like fainting and was holding myself not to cry in front of all these people.

On top of all of this even when we are able to fly back and forth via 2-3 stop northern routes to Canada we are now getting interrogated for 4-5 hour periods at our own airports by our own Canadian customs agents every single time. Life has been horrible with this issue handicapping us to live our normal lives. We are honest business people that have nothing to do with any illegal acts we have always been law-abiding citizens and will continue to do so.

Can anyone Help with this issue, or has anyone ever had any similar experience? Any resolution?

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    @Sean the great circle route is not that far north of the US border. In particular, the airport is probably less than 50 km from US airspace.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 5:20
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    To elaborate on what @phoog is saying, Toronto is right on Lake Ontario, which is the international border.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 5:50
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    Possible option: Fly via Gander International Airport (YQX)
    – ikegami
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 19:22
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    @Sean Flights don't necessarily follow the great circle. Particularly over the Atlantic, they often dip quite a bit farther south, depending on wind conditions: if you can reduce the headwind by 50km/h (which you very often can) then covering an extra 200km over the ground on a six-hour flight still saves you the equivalent of 100km of flying. The great circle from IST to YYZ doesn't miss Maine by a whole lot, Toronto is very close to the border and planes may well end up approaching from the south-east or south-west, depending on the weather. Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 22:39
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    Try contacting your MP's office. They might be able to help out one of their constituents. Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 13:36

3 Answers 3


As you've discovered, US regulations apply not just to flights to or from the US, but also to flights that pass over the US. Before such flights the airline will send APIS data (basically the details of the everyone on the flight) to the US Government, who can flag certain passengers as appears to have happened here.

Your only real recourse is to apply to the US Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). This will trigger the DHS to investigate you specifically, and if they determine that you should not have been blocked from boarding (which could be as simply as them confusing you with someone else, poor data on their behalf, etc) then they will remedy this.

As a part of the TRIP process you will be given a "Redress number" which can be used on future bookings, and will allow the government to match up your TRIP application and determination with your flight.

Of course, it's very possible that the DHS will determine that you are on a blacklist, and that fact is justified, in which case there's really nothing more that can be done.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 20:28

Unfortunately if you’re on a USA no fly list, and you’re not a citizen or permanent resident, you have very little recourse.

Who Can Challenge the No-Fly List?

In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained a federal court ruling that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents were entitled to know if they were on the list and potentially know what got them there. Baz’s case, if successful, could extend that right to foreign nationals.

Even if this case is successful, in your case you’re not someone who has been coming to the U.S. and has a long history of coming to the United States and has significant ties to the United States.

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    He could try the diplomatic channels by contacting his representative, or his Foreign Affairs department. Changes are slim though. About his problems in Canada, I am pretty sure he has a case against the Canadian authorities giving him long interrogations.
    – gstorto
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 21:34
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    Thank you for all the input. I will be studying it now.
    – Aras Celik
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 23:09
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    It would be funny to become a US citizen for the sole purpose of fighting your inclusion in the no-fly list. Would be a good topic for a comedy movie.
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 8:47
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    @Tom After seventeen years I became a US citizen for the sole reason of traveling to UK without a visa, after being denied a renewal. Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 8:59
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    Canadian usage of the US no-fly list causing harm to a Canadian may be possible to challenge in Canadian courts. It might only fix "in airports by our own Canadian customs agents every single time"
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 21:57

Go through the Canadian embassy if you haven't already; if they can't help contact as many Canadian media as you can to raise awareness. If you make a big enough stink they might help you.

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    They're not allowed on flights passing through US airspace - what's the Canadian embassy going to do about that?
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 14:12
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    I was directed to the appropriate governing Ministry. I will be pursing a resolution in the justification Via the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Public safety Canada's Passenger Protect Inquiries Office (PPIO) provides advice and assistance to individuals who have experienced travel delays or difficulties related to aviation security lists.
    – Aras Celik
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 17:40
  • The asker is a Canadian citizen. Which Canadian embassy are you suggesting they go to? Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 20:33
  • Unfortunately, you will likely find that the Canadian government relies heavily on the US no-fly list for a variety of profiling tasks. I very much doubt you will be able to skip the interrogations while you are still on the no-fly list. Also unfortunately, the current political climate and acute fear of terrorist and dislike of immigrants in the US makes redressing the situation much harder than it should be. Go through the American DHS and get yourself removed from their list if you can. Pretty sure this is the only way out... Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 20:35
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    @ArasCelik: Please keep us posted on your progress. After things are resolved, you can post an answer to your own question detailing what you did and how it worked out; posting such information would be very useful to people in similar situations in the future. Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 14:11

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