Aeroflot Forces Indian American Citizens to Delhi Instead of NYC Due to Discrimination – Deports Them Back “Home”, Even-Though Home Is the US

I’ve never heard a story quite like this one before! Apparently Aeroflot forced five Indian-Americans on a flight to Delhi, India, despite all five passengers having tickets to New York JFK and not actually being citizens of India. The group were connecting in Moscow on January 7th when their flight to JFK was canceled due to snow. Instead of placing them on the next New York bound flight (like many of the light skin passengers according to their complaint), they were given the option of flying to Delhi or being deported. Under Russian law, passengers can only remain in the country for 24 hours without visas and the cancelation would put them over that time.  However, the five who have filed a racial discrimination complaint, claim that leniency was given to the other passengers on the canceled flight. They even attempted to get the US embassy involved:

“Although the officer on duty at the embassy repeatedly asked to speak with Aeroflot to correct the situation, Aeroflot employees refused to speak with him, instead reiterating their threat that the passengers would be deported and that if they did not return to India,” the complaint reads. “Aeroflot would ‘make matters worse’ for them — including through criminal deportation and heavy fines.”

The passengers eventually boarded the flight “fearing for their safety and feeling threatened”, only to find out upon arrival that there were no available Aeroflot flights to New York for more than a week. They ended up spending out-of-pocket for flights on Qatar and many missed work and school.

“I have lost a week of work (I will not be allowed to vacation this year) and faced tremendous mental stress. I have been flying for over 17+ years and never ever been harassed or treated this way.”

“Aeroflot’s behavior is appalling and beyond any justification,” Juvaria Khan, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates, the firm representing the passengers, told The Independent. “DOT must conduct a full and thorough investigation and hold Aeroflot accountable for its discriminatory actions and ensure that no other travelers endure this type of mistreatment.”

Aeroflot apologizes for the incident, but claims it was not discrimination:

“We clearly fell short of our customary high standards of service in this incident, which occurred more than two months ago, and indeed we contacted the passengers immediately afterwards to offer our apologies. However, our thorough internal investigation established that this was not a case of discrimination based on appearance, and we do not accept this characterization in the complaint.”

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Comments

  1. Had similar discrimination experience at St Petersburg port of entry by ferry, as a brown skinned American citizen, had to go to a separate interrogation room and fill out extra forms, even though my white partner was waved through. Same documents, only difference being that I am not white.

  2. I recall reading about this incident back in January. I forget the details but I believe Aeroflot claimed that those deported to India all had multiple entry India visas whereas those who got the JFK flight only had single entry India visas (which they used already for the trip.)
    Regardless, nowadays I always make sure I have a multiple entry visa if I’m flying or connecting through an airport of that country.

  3. Aeroflot would probably be in lot more trouble if these passengers were European citizens. As it is, DOT will probably just tell them not to do it again. Maybe their executives will also have to spend a few overpriced nights at one of Trump’s Moscow properties

  4. Could have been worse -could have been forced to take Aeroflot flight to JFK. I hear their plutonium colada is killer!

  5. Due to alleged discrimination. There’s only so many seats on the plane to NY. They couldn’t stay in Russia. I believe the airline’s reasoning that the people returned to India had multiple entry visas (as someone who got a single entry visa there)

  6. So I assume they are American Citizens being that they aren’t citizens of India. Seems odd like there is more to the story.

  7. So lesson learned, do not be so cheap and fly the airlines which you know would not discriminate you! And in countries where you do not have any visa problems(transit or not). Often it is better to pay the premium price inorder to have a hassle free flight!

  8. So lesson learned! Don not be so cheap and take a decent airline which do not discriminate you! Often it is better to pay the premium price inorder to have a hassle free travel as nd fly directly as possible. Mostly check beforehand when you are transiting that you do not need any visa, if you need to enter the country!

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