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Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Hi

I have 2 separate tickets for my travel from JFK - LHR - MAD. The first ticket for JFK-LHR is on American while the next for LHR-MAD is on BA. American will land in Terminal 3 at LHR while BA of course will fly from T5. From a UK govt. perspective, I have read all rules and regulations and I do qualify for a DATV exception since

a) I will not be going out of the airport,

b) have next flight from LHR within 24 hours,

c) have a valid US resident visa,

d) will be on a flight originating from US

and e) changing Terminals at LHR requires a bus transfer and does not requires you to cross border control.

Now my question is since I have 2 separate tickets and since the first ticket says final destination only till London and I donot have a UK visa, can the airline stop me for boarding the plane? even though I have a valid ticket (departing within 4 hours of landing at LHR) with a valid Schengen visa and given the fact that I do qualify for a visa DATV exemption?

Also, pls note that both are One World flights and AA will be able to check my bags all the way thru Madrid and will be even able to give me boarding passes for next flight since they can see other reservation due to OneWorld alliance. Still, can AA stop me for boarding? Pls respond at the earliest. Thanks a lot.

Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
1. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

pls note that by saying AA will be able to check my bags..i actually mean "AA should be able to..." since all airlines in OneWorld are required to provide seamless travel by providing boarding passes to a customer for all the other OneWorld flights he may be taking in the next few hours (even though they may be on a different ticket).

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,821
reviews: 5
2. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

TheWanderer,

You need to call American Airlines and specifically ask about this situation. I doubt many (if any) on this forum have personal experience of this situation.

The issue at hand is "will AA allow you to board, given your case"? If the final destination on the AA ticket is London, it's possible that their system will flag that you need a full entry visa for the UK, not just a DATV.

That said, it was recently pointed out on here that American and their OneWorld partners have an agreement that separately ticketed onward flights on OneWorld partners are treated as through ticketed flights for the purpose of missed onward flights (they will rebook you for free instrad of making you buy a new onward ticket). That's a lot more than the other two alliances (Star and SkyTeam) do, and is something that could be positive in your case.

BUT, whether that agreement extends to combining separately ticketed flights when checking for entry clearance at the intermediate airport is another question. The airlines refer to an IATA database (TIMATIC) when checking entry clearance, and they usually adhere to what it says. Whether AA and their OneWorld partners can or will override TIMATIC in your situation is the big question here.

So call AA and ask. If they tell you it's okay, ask that they put a note in your reservation to that effect so that the check in agent will see it.

And, please also do us a favor, and come back and let us know both what AA tells you, and the final outcome/experience when you fly. That would be invaluable information for others contemplating the same type of trip.

Good luck.

Edited: 12:42 am, April 21, 2013
Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
3. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Hello US Business Traveler,

Thanks for providing detailed info on my query. I spoke to both BA and AA (a friend of mine is actually flying to LHR on BA itself and from there has same flight as mine to MAD, so she has 2 tickets too but on same airline). Both BA and AA are saying they will be able to check my bags all the way thru MAD and provide me with boarding passes, but when i asked them the above query as to whether they can raise a red flag stating that since my first ticket is only till LHR, can they stop me from boarding, they straight away state that since it relates to Visa, they cannot guide me what will check-in desk do. They asked me to speak to TSA or British Consulate. I am not sure what will they tell me since from their perspective, I am all clear as am meeting all their criterias. Its the airline who has to tell me what they will do. So I am in a quandary what to do, am planning to go to EWR soon and talk to both BA an AA front desks and seek their opinion. Pls see if you can talk to your friends or people who have further knowledge on this subjest, that will be great. thanks once again.

Madrid
posts: 2,788
reviews: 7
4. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

What nobody here can answer is how AA will consider the risk to themselves if your onward flight to MAD is cancelled.Your plan takes no account of the risk of strikes,or natural disasters such as ash clouds.Checking your bags through to MAD is only part of the equation.

If AA decide the risk of you being stuck in LHR on the day,they may deny you boarding.It will not matter then what opinions you have from BA/AA or posters here.

If you obtain a transit visa,then you have covered all the bases.

Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
5. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Large part of European airlines (BA, Virgin, Lufthansa, KLM, AirFrance, SwissAir) revenue constitue of Indians travelling from India to US (via Europe of course) and none of them have UK or European Visa. In their scenarios too, their bags are checked all the way thru US and they transit in London, Paris, Amseterdam, Zurich or Frankfurt. What happens if their onward flight to US is canceled or some natural disaster occurs. I dont believe that is a reason, else most of the planes from Europe to US would be 10-15% empty considering how many Indians take those planes without any European Visa.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,821
reviews: 5
6. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

It's got nothing to do with the airlines and everything to do with the laws of the countries through which you transit. If a passenger is refused entry, or transit, by a country's immigration authorities, the airline faces a heavy fine as well as having to bear the cost to repatriate the passenger. So the airlines take the precautions to ensure they don't face that situation.

In your case, you are facing one of the consequences of flying on separate tickets. By your own admission if you flew through London on a through ticket you wouldn't be facing this as you wpuldn't need a visa. So I'm afraid you've brought this situation on yourself.

As the airline has not given you an assurance that they will allow you to board, you should take Rapidex's advice and obtain the necessary visa. Good luck with your travels though.

Edited: 5:06 pm, April 21, 2013
Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
7. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

My apologies to drag this further but couple of points to ponder here:

a) From a country / govt. perspective, as mentioned, I meet all their criterias to transit without visa. They of course do not mention anywhere what happens in a 2 airline scenario (as mine). They simply state that as long as you have a valid ticket for your final destination, along with a valid visa of course for your destination, you can transit. No visa guidelines will state such a scenario so unfortunately its the airlines who should guide me which they are not.

b) If on AA, you inquire for a flight to India, they give you options which include AA from US - UK and BA from UK - India (since AA doesnt flies directly to India). AA always land in T3 at LHR so there too, I am changing terminals, will have my bags checked all the way thru India, only exception being that ticket will be one. In that case, they will not require an Indian to have a UK visa. Why should they put a restriction on my travel is what I wonder.

My scneario of course involves one leg on paid flights and other on reward flights and thus the two tickets. My question to airlines is isnt thats what rewards are - that depending upon your miles, you can purchase reward flights. Unfortunately I didnt had enough miles to book all the way thru but ended up getting 2 tickets, though within same alliance. Nobody is out there to answer this. I certainly do not require a visa as I have read all the fine prints, but this 2 ticket thing is something no govt. / embassy will give info on, but an airline.

Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
8. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Also, Airline hasnt said they may not allow me to board, since I have only spoken to their Club desks or reservation desks, as soon as they hear the word Visa, they straight away say that they cannot comment on this. How should I tell them that it is them only who can tell. Their check-in desk staff should know it but how to reach to them is something i dont know besides of course personally going to the airport and inquiring where too am not sure how kind enough will they be to tell me this.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
posts: 27,759
9. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

The UKBA does allow transit without visa for Indians who are travelling to/from the US, Canada and EEA countries as long as they hold a valid visa for those countries

You may even be allowed 24 hours in the UK with this concession which means you can overnight in the UK

If you didn't then you would have to have to have a transit visa

Princeton, New...
posts: 17
reviews: 92
10. Re: Indian living in US, UK Transit Visa reqd. for JFK-LHR-MAD?

Hi

I am aware of the former and I have stated that in my initial post here but can tell me more about the latter wherein you are saying we can stay upto 24 hours in the UK without a Visa - do u mean at UK airoprts or ?? Can you cite a website or an article stating so? Thanks for your response again but it still doesnt addresses my query regarding 2 separate tickets.