Wizz Air has apologised to passengers who were turned away from an Athens-bound flight for perceived flaws on the Greek “passenger locator form” (PLF).
Twenty-eight passengers were offloaded from the airline’s flight W9 4467 from Luton to Athens on Thursday 6 August.
Some were denied boarding by ground staff because they had not included a middle initial when completing the online form.
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But the instructions for the form, which was introduced by Greece when it reopened borders for the summer, make it clear that the middle initial is optional.
Harry Young and his partner spent over £600 on alternative transportation after being refused boarding at Luton.
Under European air passengers’ rights rules, airlines need not pay compensation or offer refunds if they present themselves with “inadequate travel documentation”.
Initially a spokesperson for Wizz Air told The Independent: “Passengers who do not complete the form or do so incorrectly will be refused carriage, and are not entitled to compensation.”
The carrier said that missing middle names would result in offloading.
But the Budapest-based airline has now “established that passengers travelling to Greece are not required to include a middle name on their passenger locator form”.
The spokesperson said: “As a matter of priority, the airline is investigating whether any passengers were wrongfully denied carriage on the W9 4467 flight as a result of not including a middle name on their PLF, despite correctly completing the rest of the form.
“Should there be any affected passengers, Wizz Air will contact them directly to apologise and offer the relevant compensation, as well as the options of rebooking or refunding their ticket.”
Such travellers are due €400 (£360) in statutory compensation under the air passengers’ rights rules, known as EU261.
In addition, the carrier is liable for additional costs for alternative flights.
Mr Young said: “Our form was correct, we had it on time, we had checked in to the flight, the rest of our party were able to travel.
“It was simply one check-in woman was having a bad day.”
Many other travellers on a wide range of airlines have faced problems since the PLF was introduced.
Issues include listing family members and the late receipt of the “QR code” granting permission, which is supposed to be emailed at midnight on the day of departure.
The Greek Embassy in London has not yet responded to enquiries from The Independent about the scheme.
Dubai: Emirates airline has confirmed that UAE nationals are required to obtain approval from the consulate general of their destination before flying out to Europe.
The consular approval is required for all European destinations except the United Kingdom and Greece.
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In an update on the requirements for citizens travelling to Europe from Dubai, Emirates Airlines said on its website: “Before travelling to Europe, except to the UK and Greece, UAE nationals must get approval from the Consulate General of their European destination within their departure country. For example, if you are a UAE national travelling from Dubai to France, you must apply to the French Consulate General in Dubai. If you are flying from Australia to France via Dubai, you must apply to the French Consulate General in Australia.”
“The travel regulations in each destination are changing frequently. Customers are required to come to the airport with the appropriate travel documents for their destination,” the airline explained.
The Dubai-based carrier stressed that “all passengers travelling from Dubai to UK or Europe (and other mandated destinations) will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 96 hours before departure and present the test result certificate at check-in.”
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Passengers may need to take a printed COVID-19 PCR test before departure.
Although Dubai residents do not need Dubai government approval to leave Dubai, they must have approval to return.
The airline further said that COVID-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world, including mandatory quarantine, PCR tests and registration with the concerned government authority.
“We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand,” it added.
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