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I recently had booking for flying British Airways from New Delhi to London to Nassau, all on the same airline. Unfortunately, the flight from New Delhi to London was delayed causing me to miss London to Nassau flight.

The airline re-booked me on a different flight from London to Miami to Nassau as there was no direct flight available. However, they didn't check with me if I had a US transit visa or not. And I did not.

I ended up travelling DEL>LHR>DEL because on arrival in London I could not take the re-booked flight and the next direct flight was two days later. I couldn't stay in a hotel as I only had a DATV visa and not a visitor visa for UK. This caused me to not reach Nassau at all.

Can airlines just book me a different flight without verifying my visas and call it a day?

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    This shouldn't happen and the airlines has messed up! Especially to the US where you always need a visa/ESTA for transit passengers! – jason.kaisersmith Feb 23 at 6:59
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    What did the airline say at the time of the re-booking when you informed them that you did not have the correct paperwork? – Traveller Feb 23 at 9:06
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    @Traveller the airline was British Airways. I never tried boarding re-routed flight. I verified with British Airways officials at LHR if I could and they said not without a visa. – Harshil Sharma Feb 23 at 15:28
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    I have never heard of an airline being able to bypass a country's immigration requirements to accommodate a changed-itinerary single passenger. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 23 at 15:38
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    @Traveller the OP could have not-unreasonably made a few assumptions here - that the airline knew what it was doing, and that the US transit wasnt a problem in this case (given the number of people who dont know that the US doesn't have visa-free transit lounges...). This sounds like a complete cockup by BA in Delhi and it was caught by the onward airline in London. BA should be paying up in this case, but its not a clear cut case such as a straight EU261 claim (which would potentially also apply here). – Moo Feb 23 at 21:00
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The answer to your question is dependent on the country of issue of your passport. Some individuals only need to apply for an ESTA and pay a $14 fee. Others would need to obtain a transit visa.

If you required a full transit visa then British Airways should have you routed to Bahamas with another carrier if they did not have another direct flight. They didn't do that so you should receive a refund from BA (ticketed fare class may result in only a partial refund.)

BA really dropped the ball on this.

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    Indian citizens are not eligible for an ESTA and I'm pretty sure BA knows that. No one other than BA flies to the Bahamas direct from the UK. I think BA does it because it's a British territory. Everything else is either via New York or Miami. – Harshil Sharma Apr 29 at 5:22

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