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An African friend of mine was traveling from Dar es Salaam to the UK (Manchester) and had an "Indefinite leave to remain" visa. His wife and children live in the UK.

He was flying on Turkish Airlines and was denied boarding the plane to Manchester at Ataturk Airport Istanbul when he was at the gate. The Turkish official would not explain the reasons or respond to questions of my friend but said the documents were not adequate and kept shouting "don't talk".

After 6 stressful hours and a lot of unpleasant chatting to other officials, my friend begged the police to help him. They organised a flight back to Tanzania using my friend's return ticket (which should have been in Jan 2017). He had no food or drink until he arrived back home.

Two days later he did fly to Manchester on another airline (Etihad) using the same documents which where accepted by both the airline and the immigration.

  1. How can you complain about the behavior of the offical at Ataturk airport?

  2. How can you claim compensation for the ticket if my friend has wrongly been denied boarding?

This cost my friend £800 and I'd like it to be investigated.

  • 2
    Do note that immigration officials are allowed (and indeed, required) to discriminate based on nationality. – Peteris Aug 3 '16 at 16:01
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    Who did the official work for? The airline? – Zach Lipton Aug 3 '16 at 16:02
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    I assume this is related to this other post here – mts Aug 3 '16 at 16:04
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    What you might find racist, the other person might not. So it will be better to think with a cool head. Is it plausible that your friend couldn't explain their situation properly or he(she)failed to realize that the airport officer couldn't get his(her) point. So rather than going down the racism path, better complain about the inadequacies of the officer. – DumbCoder Aug 3 '16 at 16:49
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    @user568458 It may or may not have been racism. The problem is that racism is difficult to prove in any individual case, and the actual harm can get lost in arguments about it. "I was denied boarding with these documents, costing me a two day delay and $800" is less arguable. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 4 '16 at 2:59
5

How can you claim compensation for the ticket if my friend has wrongly been denied boarding?

Assuming the "Turkish official at the gate" was the Turkish Airlines agent (and not for example Turkish government official), then according to what you said and following the Turkish airlines Passengers Right document your friend should be eligible for "denied boarding" compensation.

Here your friend can go one of two routes:

  • Via normal channels (such as using Turkish Airline website, phones etc). Submit the copies of the documents, and the statement that exactly the same documents were presented, and were accepted by a different carrier later. This is typically the best route to start with.

  • Via informal channels (such as explaining the situation in a blog post, and spreading this information through various social media). This may be quite effective when normal channels do not work, depending on your and your friends' social media activity. Turkish Airlines does care about their image and good customer service, so they do tend to resolve the issues when they got nasty in social media (at least here in US) - even in cases where, in my opinion, the airline wasn't really at fault.

Your friend also has an option to sue them, but this is more difficult route, and requires reading at least his condition of carriage and laws of Tanzania (there's possibility, for example, that he'd have to file a lawsuit in Istanbul or some 3rd party country like Netherlands).

  • 1
    In many legal systems, option (1) must be tried before one can even file a lawsuit (that won't be thrown out instantly). – Henning Makholm Aug 13 '16 at 9:41
  • You're right, but I don't know this particular case; at least a consultation with a lawyer would be needed for sure if he wants to go this route. – George Y. Aug 13 '16 at 22:17
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Just as George Y. answered the question on how can you claim compensation. There is another way through which you can claim.

First of all, it's clear that it's a mistake on the airline's side.

Secondly, you should know the real reason why he was denied boarding. It can be due to overbooked flights where the airlines have sold more tickets than the number of seats they have on their plane, also you are more likely to be bumped off if you are travelling alone. Hence, knowing the exact reason would help you fight for claim more strongly.

Thirdly, the airline was Turkish Airline and destination was Manchester Airport (both EU members) the EC Regulation 261/2004 applies.

According to EU rule the amount of compensation to which you are entitled varies depending on the distance of your destination; 250€ for flights of less than 1500 km, 400€ for flights from 1500 km to 3500 km and 600€ for flights of over 3500 km.

To claim the compensation you can either write a legal letter to the airline stating the inconvenience caused to you and claim compensation for the same. You can get the format for such a letter online just by searching "flight delay compensation letter template".

Another thing you can do is you can contact a claims expert online with the help of various claiming companies like Claim Flights, AirHelp, EUclaim, etc. You just have to fill out a form with all your flight details and they can help you get the compensation amount from the Airlines on your behalf.

Posting on social media and crying for help might not get you compensation but claiming for one can. To avoid such situations next time, check in before 24 hours, arrive at the destination early and carry all the correct documents.

Happy Flying, Clarke

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    When did Turkey join the EU? – mdewey Mar 7 '18 at 14:27
  • Turkey is not an EU member, according to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accession_of_Turkey_to_the_European_Union But doesn't the airline have to comply with some EU rules to fly in and out of EU? – WGroleau Mar 7 '18 at 15:45
  • @WGroleau It's asymmetric. 261/2004 applies to departures from an EU member state, but when the departure point is outside the EU, it only applies to EU airlines. For this regulation, EU includes Switzerland, but AFAIK not Turkey. – user71659 Mar 8 '18 at 6:43
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    @ClarkeBarry the EU doesn't work like that. At all. – Moo Mar 21 '18 at 14:52
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    Turkey is partly in Europe, not in the EU. – Willeke Jun 20 at 10:09

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