Stop Menzies Aviation with its unfair plane-boarding refusal
Stop Menzies Aviation with its unfair plane-boarding refusal
Alasan pentingnya petisi ini
Read carefully before you skip this as you experience the same thing, or you may also experience this in the future.
Have you ever been refused to board a plane without legal ground and just left stranded without a solution at the airport after all the things you have prepared beforehand?
I mean, you have your valid passport, visa, and all the covid-related documents. Yet, the third party (which in the case of Australia at the moment is such as Menzies Aviation) in my case, comes and tells you that you are not able to board the plane without reasonable grounds.
I am sure I am not the only one who has been unfairly dismissed from boarding the plane. Please help me raise this issue and make other fellow travellers realise that a case like this must not happen to customers, and when it happens, they must not go under the carpet without fair compensation and grievance.
Help me sign the petition, so we can ensure that the third-party subcontractor will never leave you stranded without a solution.
My Story of Being Unfairly Dismissed and Left Stranded at Perth Airport
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is, at the moment, trying to open itself and boost its tourism sector by making it easy for tourists worldwide to come into the country and have a glimpse of what the country has to offer. They even make it easier for tourists to access places of religious and historical importance, such as Madinah and Makkah. In the past, one has to go through agents to get a visa to enter these two cities, but now, the Kingdom has changed everything into a practical, simple and easy online system. The visa is called an eVisa, and this one visa will allow a person to attend tourist attractions and even perform religious rituals such as umrah.
I found the information about eVisa from a friend, and was immediately attracted to it. So, I visited the website where one could apply for this type of visa, that is https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ The front page of the website did clarify that eVisa allows anyone from the selected countries with a visa to perform tourism-related activities and umrah, except for studying, in the KSA. After I filled in the form, provided all the documents required and paid for the fee, I was sent the eVisa within less than hour waiting time. It was really simple and fast.
Booking the Flight to Madinah from Australia
Soon after getting the visa, I book the flight from where we live in Australia, Canberra, to Madina in Saudi Arabia via Perth. Malaysia Airlines offered the cheapest fare on the planned dates, so I paid the ticket for me, my wife and two teenager daughters.
We were planning to visit some historical Islamic sites around the city of Madina and Makkah and general tourist attractions in nearby cities such as Jeddah.
Our flight from Canberra to Perth went smoothly. We intentionally chose a flight with long transit time in Perth so we can have a short trip to this city as well. In Perth, we were informed that our flight was postponed for several hours, so the flight time changed from 3 PM to 2.15 am in the early morning.
On Friday April 8 at 2.15 am Perth Time, we went to the airport to check in. We brought all the documents, including covid related documents, to make sure that we can board the plane smoothly. When checking in, we were approached by the ground staff employed by Menzies Aviation, a company subcontracted to assist costumers with plane boarding.
The staff by the name of Sadli (not his real name) along with two other female asked where we're heading to. I explained that we were heading off to Madinah via Malaysia. As usual, we were asked about our passport, visa and ticket, so we provided them. After a while, one of the women at the desk asked us if we were to perform pilgrimage ritual. I replied by saying no, we were just about to go for a vacation (For your information, the ritual hajj is still two months way and is usually done in the month of Dzulhijjah close to the Islamic Sacrifice Day). The lady then said that they can not allow me to board the plane, because I must have an umrah visa according to the Malaysian Airline policy and procedure. We started explaining to these two ladies that the Saudi Government has changed its policy regarding the umrah visa, and they have allowed people from selected western countries to perform tourism-related activities (including umrah) with a visa called eVisa. In order to convince them that we do not lie, we showed them the website.
One of the women staff called through her walkie talkie and spoke with a man. They talked about the issue and after that the lady said to me again that they are positive that they could not let us boarding the plane. My wife started to feel anxious because the boarding time was almost close and the plane was about to take off. She started complaining about the refusal with a raising tone. I tried to calm my wife, one of the women staff called their supervisor from Menzies Aviation to come and talked to us directly.
Not long after, a man wearing the Menzies Aviation uniform came and approached us. He asked us about our trip's destination and intention. This time, he specifically us if we wanted to perform umrah when we arrive in Madinah. I replied by saying that we indeed consider performing umroh ritual along with other tourism activities. He then said that if we wanted to perform umrah we must have a specific umrah visa and not eVisa that we were having.
I then explained to Mr. Sadly what we have explained to the two women staffs. He said that he is from Egypt and he had worked at the airport of one of United Emirate Arab Countries, so he is adamant that our visa can not be used to visit Madinah and perform umrah, and therefore we can not board the MH126 flight.
We also showed Mr. Sadly the visit Saudi website (https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ however he did not even want to see it. He then went behind the desk, printed the Malaysia Airlines policy and highlighted the past where it stated: “passengers without an umrah visa by Saudi Arabia are not allowed to perform umrah.”
My wife argued that even by using that policy or Malaysia Airlines as a legal ground, he still can not stop us from boarding the plane because there is nothing in that policy that states that we can not enter Madina as a tourist. We could choose to come just as tourists and not perform umrah. I added that he should just let us board the plane and enter the country and deal with the authority in Saudi as they are the ones who can decide whether or not we can enter the country on the ground of eVisa.
Mr. Sady was still adamant and firm with his decision. I continued my argument by saying that he should be aware that my family and I are Australian citizens. We have a valid visa and all covid-related requirements to enter the plane. He could not just deny us our right without clear legal arguments, as that decision would be a potential breach to our legal rights as a citizen and a customer.
However, he said he was welcome if we wanted to take a legal pursuit, but he would not let us board the plane.
The plane took off and Mr Sadly and the ground staffs left us stranded and just walked away without giving us a more straightforward option.
We are currently seeking a refund and compensation for the losses that we have to bear as a result of this plane-boarding refusal. We are trying to engage a consumer right lawyer and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. We also contacted Malaysia Airlines, but as of today (14 June), they have not given us a clue whether they will refund our ticket. I also lodged my complaint to Menzies Aviation for the treatment of their staffs to our family which also led to this unfair dismissal.
The Impacts of Unfair Plane Boarding Dismissal
My family and I are just one out of many people who might have experienced being refused to board a plane on unreasonable grounds. In this pandemic, as a customer, we face a tremendous amount of administrative burden to get on the plane. Even when we think that we have prepared all documents that the airlines require, things such as government policy changes (for example, due to COVID requirements or visa policy changes) or incorrect interpretation of such changes may disadvantage us as a customer.
Please help me sign this petition, so we can emphasize to the airline companies and their sub-contracting agents that deal with the boarding process did not do things as they wished and at the cost of innocent customers/passengers.