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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47840
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I have booked a Land Tour in Johannesberg and a Cruise at

Customer Question

I have booked a Land Tour in Johannesberg and a Cruise at Cape Town. I was scheduled to fly from Heathrow to Johannesberg via Cairo with Egypt Air. Flying out of Healthrow, I was checked in all the way to Johannesberg but when I was ready to depart Cairo on my connecting flight, I was stopped from boarding because they said that South Africa would not accept a passport without ONE Blank page on it. I was stuck in Cairo for 5 days b4 I could rebook a flight and got an Emergency Passport. As a result I missed the Land Tour and only arrived on time for my Cruise.My Travel Insurance could not help as it is not in their terms and conditions to cover this event. The Airline (Egypt Air) has said that it is not their responsibility to check my passport at Heathrow and it is my responsibility to ensure my passport meets their requirements.My Arguments are several. (1) I was not aware of such requirement. It may be buried somewhere in the small print but I have never heard of such requirement or know anybody else who has. (2) I believe the Airline also has the responsibility to check that I have a valid passport and visa. The airline has checked my luggage and flight to Johannesberg so they were aware of my final destination. If I was stopped at Heathrow, I would have the chance to secure an Emergency passport and taken a new flight to Johannesberg and I would not have missed my Land Tour. (3) If they said they have no responsibility to check my passport, why did they check it at Cairo?
Do you think I have a valid argument and the Airline has a case to answer.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Have you contacted the airline to discuss this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. Not formally. Only just returned from that cruise. I spoke to Egyptian Airline staff and that was their response. I would write to the Airline but I need to know whether my argument is logical and valid and how far I should go if they refused my complaint.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Did you book this as a package holiday with a UK company?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. I have booked it through cruise.co.uk
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
In general, you have the responsibility in ensuring that you meet the criteria for travelling. You must be satisfied that you have the correct documentation and that you meet the necessary criteria to be granted admissibility into a foreign country. This is not the airline’s or carrier’s responsibility. Whilst they may carry out checks, they will not be held liable if they allowed you to travel even if you did not meet the criteria for entry into the country – that remains your final responsibility. Also they will usually only make checks in terms of whether you have the required visa for entry into a country and even then the immigration authorities can still refuse you entry, regardless of what checks the airline had made and whether they allowed you to travel or not. So I am afraid you will not have any legal recourse against the airline in this case. You may however have a potential case against the travel agent. This would depend on whether this was a package holiday, which is defined in law as: “the pre-arranged combination of at least two of the following components when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours…:—(a) transport;(b) accommodation;(c) other tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation and accounting for a significant proportion of the package.” If you meet the above criteria you will have additional rights under specific legislation which you could potentially exercise against the travel agent or package holiday company. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the specific rights you have if you had bought a package holiday, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. If you had bought a package holiday then you will get certain statutory rights under The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In terms of pre-travel information, they require the organiser of the package holiday to provide certain information to the consumer who is travelling. You can check these requirements here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/3288/regulation/7/made You will see that the first requirements is that you are provided with “general information about passport and visa requirements which apply to British Citizens who purchase the package in question, including information about the length of time it is likely to take to obtain the appropriate passports and visas” The only issue for you is contained in point (3), which states that failure to provide such information would make the organiser liable and subject to a fine. Sadly it does not aloe you to get compensation from them but it does mean that they can be fined by the authorities for failing to comply. You could still try and get direct compensation from them, for example by asking them to just compensate you in return for not making a complaint of the above or instigating legal proceedings and they could comply just by applying basic customer service satisfaction.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you expand further on what my rights are when I buy a package holiday. They have said that they did warn me about checking my passport and visa.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Did you see my answer above?