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I was travelling from Australia to the Philippines with a stopover in Malaysia, to meet my wife and daughter. They almost refused to let me board the plane in Melbourne because I didn’t have a face shield, which was a requirement by the Philippines. Someone at the airport gave me a face shield and everything was solved and I boarded the plane. But when I came to Malaysia, I wasn’t allowed to board the plane to the Philippines because they told me that I had to have a visa to enter the Philippines due to a law that commenced on 7 December.

I bought my ticket on the 27th of November and checked the Philippines embassy website in Australia and saw not a word about the new law. It all said visa-free entry into the Philippines. If the Malaysian airlines refused my entry on the plane in Australia because of a face shield how come they didn’t refuse me or even check my visa for the Philippines? Because of this now I am stuck in Malaysia and can’t go to the Philippines or back to Australia. Even if I go back to Australia, I was told that I have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel which is going to cost me over $3000. I am stressed and currently living in the airport in Kuala Lumpur and paying for all the expenses, hotel, food, and I was told that I even had to pay for my return flight to Australia.

What can I do about this?


I am an Australian citizen and my spouse and my child are Filipino citizens. I know Australian citizens could travel visa-free because I travelled to the Philippines 7 or 8 times before visa free. But on the 7th of December, the new law came into effect in Philippines where no one is visa free. The only way anyone can travel visa free is only if you enter the Philippines with your wife or child who is a Filipino. There is no more visa-free entry and this is not updated on their website on any Philippines embassy websites.

Added from a comment posted to an answer on 23th or 24th December:
I can go back now. I just found out today that they have requested to accept an extra person into Australia from Malaysia because they only allow limited number of people to enter the country. This has happened because I told Malaysian Airlines that I will go to media about this when I return to Australia and I received so much assistance today which I never received since Saturday. They didn’t give me my luggage before but today I got to get some clothes out of my luggage. I have been wearing the same clothes since Saturday hahaha

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  • 2
    Are you an Australian citizen? If so, you may be able to apply for loa ns to help cover your living expenses & return flight. It may be a long shot, but it's worth looking into. Dec 23 '20 at 3:44
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    Were both legs of the journey one booking (same PNR) with Malaysia Airlines? What was your travel date? Did you check entry requirements again in between booking on 27 Nov and travelling?
    – Traveller
    Dec 23 '20 at 7:21
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    With face shield I assume you mean a mouth-nose mask?
    – Polygnome
    Dec 23 '20 at 14:16
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    I'm not sure what or where you checked... The Internet Archive's capture of philembassy.org.au on November 24th clearly shows that at the time (effective Nov 1st), foreign spouses of Filipinos were allowed only with a valid visa (even those who entered without a visa previously) and pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and pre-booked COVID-19 testing and subject to maximum capacity limits.
    – jcaron
    Dec 23 '20 at 16:51
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    The same was true on the capture from November 13th. And in your case, the same requirements already existed before that (at least going back to September).
    – jcaron
    Dec 23 '20 at 17:01
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The traveller owns the responsibility for ensuring they have all relevant valid travel documents or ability to transit or enter into countries, either their destination or any transit stop along the way.

Airlines have no liability to the passenger for ensuring their documents are valid, or whether they actually have the ability to enter the destination country - what they do have is a liability to the destination or transit country to not present ineligible persons, and they typically get fined when that happens, but that liability infers no responsibility to the actual passenger.

You have two options - firstly, check what your travel insurance can do in this situation. They may be able to pay out for some expenses for example

Secondly, you will want to contact your country's embassy or consulate in Malaysia - they may be able to repatriate you or otherwise help you out.

You may also want to seek help from friends and family, or try opening a GoFundMe and publicise your situation.

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    @Tamer you will have to ask them that, but its also a good practice to ensure the health and well being of fellow passengers and the crew in this current pandemic. But it doesnt infer any responsibility to you on the airline at all for your eligibility to enter the destination. Thats all you.
    – Moo
    Dec 23 '20 at 4:29
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    @Tamer Having a recording of them "admitting their mistake" will not make any difference. The airline has no duty to you to check whether you have the right visa. They say so in the terms and conditions of your ticket Dec 23 '20 at 15:06
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    @Tamer Airlines will typically check paperwork required for entry. But you are ultimately responsible for ensuring you have the correct documentation, not the airline. There are plenty of examples of this on TSE, search ‘denial of entry’ tag. Why can’t you go back to Australia?
    – Traveller
    Dec 23 '20 at 16:56
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    @Tamer The only reason airlines check is that in many cases the destination country can fine them if they let someone board a plane without evidence they will be allowed into the country, and will also have to transport the passenger back. But airlines have no obligation to you to check your documents, quite the opposite: your contract with them most likely states that they can bill you for all costs incurred in such a situation, including fines, penalties, fees, the cost of the flight,
    – jcaron
    Dec 23 '20 at 17:11
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    I can go back now. I just found out today that they have requested to accept an extra person into Australia from Malaysia because they only allow limited number of people to enter the country. This has happened because I told Malaysian Airlines that I will go to media about this when I return to Australia and I received so much assistance today which I never received since Saturday. They didn’t give me my luggage before but today I got to get some clothes out of my luggage. I have been wearing the same clothes since Saturday hahaha
    – Tamer
    Dec 23 '20 at 17:15
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Although being stuck isn't your fault, it seems that no entity (airline or government) has the responsibility to solve your problem, so you'll have to do it yourself.

Apart from going back to Australia, one alternative option is to travel to a 3rd country which allows Australians to enter (perhaps UAE) and apply for a Philippines visa there (if you qualify, check beforehand). This involves additional flight and hotel costs, but might work out better than going back to Australia and paying for quarantine there.

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