airBaltic denies Isle of Man visa, removes passenger from flight
On May 11, a passenger named Artur Strakhov was allegedly removed from his airBaltic flight and held for 8 hours when the airline’s staff could not recognize his limited leave to remain visa issued by the Isle of Man.
As the passenger explains, the incident occurred before a flight from Riga to London. The Russian citizen, who lives in UK and holds an Isle of Man visa, was denied access to a flight to London when airBaltic staff could not recognize his visa. This is what Artur Strakhov wrote to AeroTime:
“I am Russian but I live in UK and I have an Isle of Man visa (limited leave to remain). I had been visiting family in Russia and was on my way back home to London, travelling via Riga, when airBaltic delivered me from Moscow to Riga, but refused to allow me to board the plane departing Riga for London.”
“I was in the transfer area, queuing to board the flight when an airBaltic stewardess looked at my passport and said that she didn’t know what is the Isle of Man and where it is."
The passenger talked to a couple of officials who claimed the passenger cannot enter UK and might be sent to Moscow, and asked to provide a marriage certificate. After several hours, the passenger was given a new boarding pass, but was refused an apology.
airBaltic sent AeroTime an official statement apologizing to Artur Strakhov.
"Safety is the top priority for airBaltic. It is airline's responsibility to carry out all safety procedures, including the travel and personal document check, according to security instructions and legislation," the statement says. "The document check took longer than usually because the documents presented by passenger were a rare combination and are included in the exception list. So the agent in the airport informed the passenger and airBaltic security, which started further investigation process."
According to the company, security services promptly contacted the immigration authorities in the United Kingdom to clarify the information on whether the passenger is allowed to enter the country. After consulting with responsible institutions, airBaltic received approval that the passenger’s documents, including the “Isle of Man” residence permit stamp in his passport, were valid and he can reside in the United Kingdom.
After the airline received the approval from responsible institutions, the passenger was allowed to fly on the next available flight to London.
The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency, which means that although it is not officially part of United Kingdom, most of the passport and visa arrangements apply to both countries.
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