Mihikaa Bhaskar, 25, a design student at a university in London, returned to her home in Kasturinagar in Bengaluru on March 16 to spend time with her parents as her institution closed for the Easter holidays. She landed at Kempegowda International Airport on a Lufthansa flight from London after a 90-minute transit in Frankfurt. On Monday morning, she returned to KIA to board Lufthansa flight LH 755, which she had pre-booked, but was shocked when airline ground staff intercepted her.
“They said they couldn’t allow me to board because being an Indian passport holder I needed a transit visa for my two and a half hour transit period in Frankfurt before I left. to fly to London.I tried to tell them that I have a valid UK residence permit and that I don’t have to face the transit visa hurdle when traveling from London to Bangalore via Frankfurt, but they just weren’t ready to listen,” Mihikaa lamented.
With her classes resuming in a few days and Mihikaa due to report for her part-time job in London, the Bengalurian was forced to book a Gulf Air flight that morning. She flew to London via Bahrain.
Like Mihikaa, many other passengers, including students with Indian passports, are being turned away for lack of transit visas to travel to a third destination country, according to sources among KIA’s international wing ground staff. . Many receive the shock of being denied boarding after reaching the check-in counters, as most airlines do not inform travelers of the transit visa rule, which was not in place for passengers Indians before the start of 2020, they add.
“The airline could have sent an SMS”
“What shocked me was that Lufthansa allowed me to fly without a transit visa to India but denied boarding on the return trip. As a customer, I would expect this that the airline send me at least an SMS or an alert about the transit visa requirement, which I would have fulfilled instead of losing my ticket money,” the student added.
While a Lufthansa communications team could not be reached, a representative from the airline’s helpline in India explained that a transit visa was indeed mandatory for passport holders. Indian to transit through Frankfurt, even if they held a valid study or residence permit for the United Kingdom.
However, the official German visa portal indicates that the airport transit visa, also known as an “A” visa in the Schengen visa category, is required for Indian nationals, but Indians holding a valid UK visa are exempt. This clause should allow Indian passengers like Mihikaa to pass through Frankfurt without needing a transit visa.
But without clarity on the issue from the carriers involved, Indian flyers are being left behind.