My brother is a cyclist in one of Philippine cycling teams and invited to the 11th Tour De Singkarak. He took the flight to Indonesia from Asmara with Ethiopian Airlines. But up on arrival He was refused by the immigration reasoning that the invitation doesn't state Visa on Arrival. He returned back home and was asked by Ethiopian airlines to pay 3500 USD.

  1. Can the airline charge the passenger?
  2. If Indonesian immigration reasoning is right, shouldn't the airline be responsible in checking an eligible document prior to boarding?
  • 4
    Your brother should check the fine print on the airline web site, but almost certainly it will say somewhere that having the proper documents is the passenger's responsibility, and the airline is not responsible (to the passenger) for any problems. Oct 31 '19 at 17:29
  • 2
    When an airline checks the visa it is not for your protection, but theirs, because they must carry the passenger back out – and want to avoid this kind of situation. Oct 31 '19 at 17:44

If (and how much) the airline can charge depends on the contract between the passenger and the airline. Usually the contract will state, somewhere in the fine print, that the passenger has to pay the costs if the entry is refused and the destination country forces the the airline to transport the passenger back.

The obligation of checking entry papers is also written down in the contract. Usually this states that the airline can refuse boarding if the papers are deficient, but that the airline is not held responsible if it transports the passenger but entry is refused.

  • 1
    Under IATA rules, airlines are allowed to recover the “costs of transport” from a passenger rejected by immigration and returned to another country. The definition of “costs of transport” isn’t clear.
    – Moo
    Oct 31 '19 at 18:46
  • 1
    @Moo, somewhere along the lines of buying the return flight on the same day, which tends to be much more expensive than buying weeks or months in advance ...
    – o.m.
    Oct 31 '19 at 19:16
  • 1
    As discussed in previous threads on this, "transport costs" is not necessarily the same as a standard ticket price, but that would need to be argued in court.
    – Moo
    Oct 31 '19 at 21:07

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