I'm a Turkish national. I currently reside in Germany and I have a type D visa as well as a residence card, both issued by Germany. I was in Oslo, and to go back to Turkiye I could only afford a transit flight through the UK (London). I checked Timatic Web and the requirements for my profile were:

Transiting without a visa is possible for:

Nationals of Turkiye transiting through London (LHR) or Manchester (MAN) with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country on the same calendar day. They must:

  • have a "D" visa issued by Germany, and
  • stay in the international transit area of the airport, and
  • have documents required for the next destination.

I'm sure that I had all those required documents. But I was denied boarding by Norwegian Air Shuttle on the basis that the flight only lands in a gate that does not connect to the international area of the airport.

Is this a legitimate basis for being denying boarding? If so, do I have the right to make any claims for refunds? And if I was wrongfully denied boarding for this flight, how can I reclaim my rights under the EU's 261?

Edit: Since I didn't mention some details I'm adding them here:

  • The first flight was from the Oslo Gardermoen Airport to Gatwick Airport in London.
  • I was aware at the time that I had the ability to enter the UK because of the German visa that I had and told them about it.
  • Flights were booked individually.
  • The flight number was DY1308, Norwegian Air Shuttle denied my boarding.
  • 4
    I’m struggling to see why you think you might have been wrongfully denied boarding. The flight lands at a gate that would mean you could not stay airside to make your connection. Was the transit a self-transfer? Is your complaint that you were not made aware the gate restriction would or might be the case when you booked?
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 5 at 17:41
  • 9
    Welcome to Travel.SE. For completeness, please can you confirm which London airport were you planning to change flights and which airline were you due to fly between London and Türkiye?
    – B.Liu
    Commented Jul 5 at 17:43
  • 15
    Further to @B.Liu's point: Norwegian does not currently fly to Heathrow (LHR), only to Gatwick (LGW). If you were transferring through Gatwick, the above clause from Timatic doesn't apply. Commented Jul 5 at 19:41
  • 13
    To continute @MichaelSeifert's comment: Gatwick airport doesn't have a secure transit facility. To fly into Gatwick, every passenger must pass UK Immigration and be admitted into the UK. A passenger who is not eligible for admission into the UK will be denied boarding, even if holding a paid-for ticket on that flight. Commented Jul 5 at 20:22
  • 22
    Whether the traveler could transit airside seems to be irrelevant. A Turkish citizen holding either a valid D visa or residence permit issued by an EEA state (e.g. Germany) meets to requirements to enter the UK under landside transit without visa rules. So, the traveller would have been able to enter the UK as long as their onward flight was scheduled to depart by the next day. The rules are available here: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65ce4119e1bdec0011322213/…
    – JohnDoe
    Commented Jul 6 at 5:56

4 Answers 4


According to their website, the only airport in the London region that Norwegian Air Shuttle fly to is London-Gatwick (LGW), so presumably that was the airport you were flying through.

Unlike London Heathrow, London Gatwick does not have an "international transit area" - instead all arriving passengers must pass through immigration, even if they are connecting to another international flight. Doing this would require legal authority to enter the UK, which you did not have - thus you were correctly denied taking this flight.

The text you've quoted from Timatic specifically states that it covers "London (LHR) or Manchester (MAN)", however you were not travelling through either of these airports, so this text is not relevant.

If you had been flying a different airline, and had been travelling via London Heathrow, then you would have been able to travel (presuming that connection allowed you to stay airside - most, but not all, do).

So yes, you were correctly denied boarding, and as a result have no recourse under EU261 or any other means - having the correct visas/etc is always the responsibility of the passenger, and you didn't have what was required for this itinerary.

  • 11
    The UK Home Office page cited by @JohnDoe in his comment to the original question contains language that provides an exemption from the visa requirement for those who hold a valid D-visa, such as the OP. Do you think this UK page is inapplicable to the OP? Commented Jul 6 at 18:26
  • 5
    @André: The OP writes "the UK (London)". The bit about "London (LHR) or Manchester (MAN)" is in a quotation from Timatic -- not the OP's own wording. The OP apparently thought that (s)he was covered by the "London (LHR)" wording, but according to this answer, (s)he was mistaken about that. (Probably the OP simply didn't realize that "London (LHR)" refers to just one of the several airports serving London, and that his/her own flight was through a different one.)
    – ruakh
    Commented Jul 8 at 5:24
  • 8
    @André They never mentioned which airport they were flying to at all. They do mention the airline and destination city, and the only airport that airline flies to in that city is LGW. The airline doesn’t fly to the airport the Timatic extract quoted relates to, making it irrelevant to the itinerary. The whole point is that the question is based on a false premise. Commented Jul 8 at 11:23
  • 4
    this answer is totally and utterly wrong. The UK transit without visa rules make no distinction as to whether a Turkish citizen will pass UK border control or not in order to avail themselves of it, as long as they hold an EU/EEA residence permit (or the other qualifying conditions).
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Jul 8 at 22:43
  • 4
    This answer is incorrect. This isn't surprising because the TIMATIC text is incorrect. Presumably TIMATIC is consistent and either includes this text for Gatwick or claims that TWOV is unavailable at Gatwick, that that is wrong. The UK's TWOV facility allows beneficiaries to clear passport control; the statement that they must "remain in the international transit area" may form the basis of a claim by the airline against TIMATIC to cover the cost of reimbursing the passenger.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 9 at 10:03

Whether the traveler could transit airside seems to be irrelevant. A Turkish citizen holding either a valid D visa or residence permit issued by an EEA state (e.g. Germany) meets to requirements to enter the UK under landside transit without visa rules. So, the traveller would have been able to enter the UK as long as their onward flight was scheduled to depart by the next day. The rules are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65ce4119e1bdec0011322213/UK+Visa+requirements+February+2024.pdf

A query on Traveldoc also confirms this:

Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) is not required for passengers holding a valid Common Resident Format Residence Permit issued by a European Economic Area member state or Switzerland, when transiting Gatwick Airport (LGW), London Heathrow Airport (LHR) or Manchester Airport (MAN) and the passenger's next destination is not Ireland. Passenger must hold an onward flight, correct documentation for their destination and depart the same calendar day. E-visas or e-residence permits are not acceptable unless the airline is able to verify it with the issuing country.

Visa is required for passengers who leave the international transit area of the airport to transit land-side, or otherwise have to pass through border control.

This does not apply to passengers holding a confirmed onward ticket to depart the United Kingdom by air before the end of the next calendar day, and one of the following exemption documents (electronic visas or residence permits are not accepted) provided complying with any conditions specified:

  • Valid category "D" visa or common format residence permit issued by a European Economic Area member state or Switzerland;

I do not know the exact procedures for claiming compensation in this case for you. Maybe someone else can shine light on this.

  • It's interesting to note that while Traveldoc is aware of this, bizarrely Timatic doesn't seem to be, they only have a very small subset of the airside and landside exemptions, as far as I can see.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 8 at 14:06
  • 1
    Thank you! As I wrote in my other replies, this can also be confirmed in UK Immigration Rules Appendix V, V7.7 and V7.78: qna.files.parliament.uk/qna-attachments/433057/original/… Now I'm looking for ways to appeal to get a full refund + compensation as I have a significant amount of loss on my non-refundable connecting flight. I'm not sure where I can send my appeal to, maybe to the Norwegian Aviation Authority. Commented Jul 8 at 22:54
  • 2
    @RoomTemperatureMilk EC261 claims must always be sent to the airline first, using the procedure that give for that. Only if the airline says no can you then go further. Or you could ask a specialised company to handle the claim for you. They will take their cut (about 30% of any compensation paid I believe), but they have quiet a bit of experience, and will probably tell you quite early if they believe you can get something or not.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 8 at 23:37

You should've been allowed to board because of your German residence permit. This means you can get GBP 220/EUR 250 in compensation AND all expenses for travelling to Turkey reimbursed. Do NOT claim a refund for the original travel.

Go HERE and click "Claim application form". Where it asks to comment, explain that you were seeking to transit the UK LANDSIDE. Link this page and point to section (h) in "TWOV 3". Then where it asks you to upload documents, attach your passport and German residence permit, AND a screenshot of Norwegian's rejection email AND both booking confirmations Norway-UK and UK-Turkey, AND the new booking confirmation Norway-Turkey, AND any meal/hotel receipts if applicable.

Do NOT mention TIMATIC as it seems to contain a bug, and the part you're quoting involves Heathrow (not Gatwick) and is irrelavant to you.

Make it clear you're requesting the following under Article 3, section 1 (b) (i) of UK261:

  • GBP 220 in UK261 denied boarding compensation
  • Reimbursement of the NEW travel tickets Norway-Turkey;
  • Reimbursement of any meal/hotel expenses if applicable.
  • I suppose that as usual you have a few contacts at the UK department in charge of sending updates to Timatic? It would be interesting to understand why Timatic apparently does not include that case when it most definitely should.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 9 at 0:19
  • Note that OP was not travelling to Germany but to Turkey, from what I understand.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 9 at 0:20
  • 1
    @jcaron Hrm, in United's TIMATIC interface TWOV doesn't seem to appear when AR=DE. I'll definitely check this with TIMATIC as I suspect it's a bug.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jul 9 at 0:29
  • I have checked both Emirates’ UI (very simplified) and the IATA Travel Centre and both show only a limited number of TWOV exemptions. Traveldoc has a much more extensive list, similar to that of the UK “check if I need a visa” page.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 9 at 0:34
  • 1
    @jcaron You normally can at LGW, but it's been indefinitely closed since COVID-19 broke out (so was MAN, but that recently re-opened)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jul 9 at 0:36

Flights were booked individually.

While UK immigration rules do not require you to have a visa for transit purposes (regardless airside or landside or if you have a self-connection or single itinerary) when you hold a common-format residence card from Germany, individually booked flights (self-connections) have their own challenges, especially with a low-cost carrier that often operates exclusively under a point-to-point model and do not sell connecting tickets in a single booking.

With self-connections, the airlines often do not recognize the validity of the onward ticket required to benefit from visa exemptions for transit reasons. With low-cost carriers, the ground staff is usually also much more conservative in the interpretation of immigration rules to avoid immigration-related fines by the government (even if they have to pay the EC261 compensation, which is comparatively small).

The airlines claiming that the refusal of boarding for visa-exempt self-connections is justified usually invoke two points. First, for self-connections, the airlines do not have a contractual obligation to transport the passenger to the final destination (the two tickets are separate contracts), thus, if delays or cancellation happen, the airline is unable to guarantee the prompt departure of the passenger within the transit rules. Second, many airlines do not have direct access to the bookings of airlines outside their alliance or their chosen distribution system (for low-cost carriers, they essentially do not have access at all). The airlines often claim that as a result they cannot confirm the validity of the onward ticket.

I do not believe these arguments are reasonable, at least in some cases (e.g. tickets booked with the same airlines), but what I believe does not matter.

I am aware that some civil aviation authorities (e.g. Denmark) also consider such denied boarding unjustified, at least when both trips are booked with the same airline (so they have the ability to confirm the bookings); however, civil aviation authorities do not have power to compel payment.

Their ruling is rather meaningless if the airlines does not comply (in the Danish case I'm aware of, RyanAir refused to comply with the ruling and pay the "ordered" compensation). Even though they usually have some authority to fine the airlines, it would require a formal proceeding that the authority may not be willing to commence for various reasons and the fine is paid to the state (not compensation to the passenger).

The passenger would have to rely on the civil procedure (e.g. small claims process or a binding arbitration for consumer claims) to obtain the compensation and the court may or may not rely on the ruling of civil aviation authorities depending on the country's system and the judge. I am not aware any clarification from the ECJ or a national appeal-level court rulings on the denial of boarding due to visa reasons for self-connected flights.

You should still request compensation based on EU rules, but it may be an uphill battle and the airlines is likely to refuse. If you have the time/money and are willing to take the effort, you can attempt to obtain a ruling from the court (usually the small claims process); in some cases, some airlines may tend to settle to avoid a legal precedent.

Attempting to avail yourself of the transit visa exemptions as a holder of a less "favourable" passport remains risky when you do not have a single booking from the airlines or a proper travel agent (i.e., not Kiwi or other "self-connection" providers). I would advise against it when the trip is important enough.

I could only afford a transit flight through the UK (London).

Self-connected flights are often cheaper for many itineraries served by budget airlines. But being denied boarding and having to buy new flights or cancel the trip is more expensive.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .