When departing from Schengen to other outside-Schengen countries does the company (Easyjet, Ryanair) and the police checking the documents before boarding have a legal obligation not to board people without a passport? Is there a specific law about this?


EDIT: I discovered airline do not have responsability towards passengers (see point 13.2 here http://www.easyjet.com/en/terms-and-conditions ). What I find crazy is that the policeman that was checking the documents for this particular flight told me twice that I could take the flight and that the national ID was fine to flight to exit Schengen area. I asked him surprised if it was true and he confirmed it. It's crazy that you can't trust a policeman. I thought he knew more than me about it.

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    As per o.m's answer, the airline does have responsibilities, just not to the passenger. That clause includes language allowing them to recover their costs if they end up getting fined for flying a traveller with incorrect documentation.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 8:36
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    You can exit the schengen area with an ID card. The policeman was correct. Whether you can enter other countries with just an ID card is a separate question.
    – Calchas
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 10:15

3 Answers 3


The airline has an obligation towards the destination country not to carry illegal immigrants. They can get a serious fine if they fail their checks and deliver a person without valid papers to the destination. Low-cost airlines can be more paranoid than others because they watch their expenses so much, having to pay the fine would really mess up their profits.

The airline has no obligation towards the traveler to assure that papers are in order. There are so many exceptions, and in most cases nations reserve the right to grant or deny entry as they see fit anyway.

  • "Low-cost airlines can be more paranoid than others because they watch their expenses so much" Haha, not Ryanair at Stansted. At the gate, they literally only check that you have something with a photo on it, as well as a Boarding pass, and you're good to go. A friend of mine was even allowed on a flight to Agadir (Morocco) on her French driving licence (though of course she had a passport as well, which she used at Moroccan immigration)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 5:25
  • DO you know where I can find these laws regarding obligations between airline companies and countries?
    – R D
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 6:13
  • @RD, SJuan provided links, is that specific enough for you?
    – o.m.
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 14:30

These rules are stablished in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Convention_on_International_Civil_Aviation), that specifies, among others, that:

Article 13: (Entry and Clearance Regulations) A state's laws and regulations regarding the admission and departure of passengers, crew or cargo from aircraft shall be complied with on arrival, upon departure and whilst within the territory of that state.

Also, in the best practices:

5.9 The aircraft operator shall be responsible for the cost of custody and care of an improperly documented person from the moment that person is found inadmissible and returned to the aircraft operator for removal from the State.


5.14 Contracting States shall not fine aircraft operators in the event that arriving and in-transit persons are found to be improperly documented where aircraft operators can demonstrate that they have taken adequate precautions to ensure that these persons had complied with the documentary requirements for entry into the receiving State.

About your particular question, it is the airline's duty to ensure that no people without proper travel documents board the plane, so that check is usually done by airline employees.

Policemen may be in charge of security (X-rays/scanner machines, ensure that nobody boards with another person's boarding card), but they are not airline personal, and are not trained to be so. I guess the policeman thought he was just being helpful by telling you what he believed was right, but in any case it was just his opinion.

In fact, airline employees themselves usually do not know the document requirements (because they depend not only of where the flight departs to/from, but also of your nationality and even more factor) and they mostly check with databases like Timatic.

And, as stated in other answers, no, you cannot sue (or you can try, but you will nothing out of it). There are two guilty parts here: yourself, who failed to travel with the required documents, and the airline, that failed to check those.

The airline may be fined by the Israeli government; you were detained and expelled from Israel and may be requested by the airline to pay for the return flight.

  • Policeman are there at the pre-boarding checks only at flights towards non-Schengen countries so I think it's unlikely he didn't know that I needed a passport. I recently took another flight towards a EU country and there were no policeman at all checking, only airline employees. I trusted his opinion enough to change my original opinion. Maybe I didn't explain it properly, it wasn't a random policeman in the airport, it was the policeman checking documents for this particular flight.
    – R D
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 8:23
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    @RD : I don't think I have ever seen policemen when flying out of Basel or Zürich to (non-Schengen) UK. I always see border control, but they are not (as far as I know) police. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 9:21
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    More to the point, you misunderstand what his role his. He is there to check you are allowed to leave Schengen - he is not there to check you are allowed to enter Israel, and he will have had no training in what documents you need to enter Israel. You might get somewhere with a complaint to the relevant border control authority - but all you will get is an apology; you certainly won't get any money. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 9:24
  • I agree. They are there to check if passengers have the required documents to leave Schengen (quite simply a passport). I didn't and he deceptively said to me that my national ID was enough. How can he not know that? In which non-Schengen country can I flight with my EU country-ID? No one.
    – R D
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 10:13
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    @RD I think that you can go to non-Schengen EU countries with just your EU country ID. Maybe even EEA countries. However, please check before doing that rather than rely on my guess. I have seen French people come to the UK with just their national ID cards.
    – badjohn
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 10:30

Yes, the companies have a legal obligation not to board a passenger lacking proper documents. Yes, passport inspection officers have a legal obligation not to allow travelers lacking proper documents past the control point. No, there isn't a specific law about this; there are several. The airline must obey the laws of both the departure country and the destination country. The Schengen passport inspectors must obey the laws of the country whose officers they are. The principle such law is the Schengen Borders Code.

(Proper documents doesn't always mean a passport. For example, if the flight is bound for Ireland, EU passengers would require either a passport or a national ID card.)

  • I travelled to a non schengen frm Germany and I was let to my surprise board to the airplane with my national-ID. Police told me it was ok. Do you think I can sue someone? I run in a lot of trouble after this.
    – R D
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 4:58
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    @RD no, you can't sue. It's your responsibility to check entry requirements. Airlines will usually save you if you don't, but they're not obliged to you to do so. See o.m.'s answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 5:33
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    @RD To be honest, my fear would be whether eastJet was fined by Israel for bringing you there without a passport and whether they'll try to make you pay the fine under section 13.2.3 of their terms. I don't know whether Israel imposes such fines or what would happen, but that could be an extremely unpleasant surprise. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 6:26
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    @RD It is not German police's job to see that you are good to enter Israel. The policeman allowed you to exit Germany, no more, no less.
    – fkraiem
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 10:22
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    @RD: You would have to sue yourself for not doing your pre-travel research properly. You're going to need to take some responsibility for your own decisions and the consequences of those actions. It's not somebody else's responsibility. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 11:47

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