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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

Direct links to a selection of television and radio contributions can be found at foot of this page. Scroll down.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How on earth do you get OFF a NO FLY List when you should not have been on it in the first place?

 

You may have caught up with the very popular Rip-Off Britain series on BBCTV last week during their series of five all live special broadcasts from London?

Julian Bray, an aviation security expert, was invited to contribute to the Thursday Live edition examining the strange antics of the Turkish Government who caused a holiday airline to deny boarding to a British family, because Teaching Assistant James D. (we've blocked his surname just in case the Turkish Government, the USA Department of Homeland Security and the FBI all seek to needlessly complicate matters further!) 

James D. had been mistakenly put on a NO FLY list in the USA by the Department of Homeland Security no less! To add insult to injury, the FBI then stepped in and slapped a worldwide stop order on our James D. !


The Turkish Government seem to be working from the same list, but equally the human at the Embassy processing the e-visa appears to be only reading the top line on the first screen of the computer entry; confusing our wholly innocent teaching assistant from Lancashire with a 'gentleman' with the same name, but wanted for tax fraud and currently living, not in Lancashire, but many thousands of miles away in sunny South America! The FBI had issued a stop order on a fugitive who shares James D's name!.

This is an outline of the video package:    
 
  • Teaching assistant James D. lives in Lancashire with his wife and two children.  While his teenage son Callum is studying for his GCSE’s, his wife is full-time Carer to their daughter Rebecca, who is deaf and blind.
  • The family like to get away on holiday every year, but to allow Linda to have a proper break Rebecca stays at a local respite home where the couple know she’s safe and happy.
  • Last year the D Family  had booked a two week holiday to their favourite destination, Turkey.
  • As usual, the D’s had booked their trip well in advance.   They thought all that was left to do before they jetted off was to apply online for their e-Visas, which would allow them into Turkey.
  • It’s a simple application process that’s typically completed in a few minutes. But despite successfully obtaining a visa for Turkey in the past – this time round there was a problem with James’s application and it asked him to proceed to his nearest Turkish embassy.
  • With panic setting in that the family might miss out on the holiday, James contacted Rip Off Britain for help.
  • So we contacted the Turkish Embassy. With just TWO days until their flight – we were able to secure James a face to face appointment in  London.
  • To his surprise, at that appointment,  he was told somebody who was not even British with the SAME NAME and BIRTHDATE as him had been denied entry to Turkey. The computerized system had assumed that the two James’s were one and the same.
  • So even though the two men aren’t linked in any way- the computer wouldn’t generate a visa.
  • James, of course could prove his identity to the Turkish Embassy staff, but was still left with a nerve wracking wait as his case was reviewed.
  • With the family holiday hours away he finally received the call telling him he would be able to travel to Turkey.
  • At the time, the Embassy told us that it was pleased its staff had done a “good job” in assisting James with his “exceptional case’’ it was confident that the new service is both faster and more efficient.
  • Back then James commented ‘I think the Turkish E-visa system needs to be seriously looked at by the powers that be and improved. not just improved actually made fool proof .I certainly wouldn’t want to go through this again.’
  • A couple of months ago James contacted us again in a panic.
  • James says that the family had decided to book through a travel company, which promised to sort out the visas. However, the company contacted James to tell him that there was a problem with his visa and that his application had once again been turned down, without explanation. 
  • With the family holiday once again in the balance, James had no choice but to again make the 500 mile round trip to the Embassy offices in London.
  • His visa WAS once again issued. But with a couple of stings in the tail. 
  • Visas issued face to face come at a cost. And while last time the embassy had waived the extra charges as goodwill gesture. THIS summer James had to pay £93 – FIVE TIMES MORE than the cost of an E-Visa.
  • Add to that the cost of his train travel from Lancashire, and getting his visa has made a huge dent in the family’s holiday budget before they’d even left the UK.
  • Worse still, James says how one member of the embassy staff gave him an incredible explanation of how a teaching assistant from Lancashire continues to be mistaken for a man on the run in South America.
  • ‘He explained the problem didn’t lie with the Turkish government it lay with the American government. The FBI had issued a stop order on somebody who shares my name. Apparently he’s in South America. He’s wanted for tax fraud’
  • All of which raises the question of where else James might suddenly find himself unable to fly to… ‘My wife has family in the States, we’ve recently got back into contact with them and they’ve invited us to go next year….Me? America? I’m not sure.
  • James finishes by telling Rip-Off Britain that the experience does actually make him fear leaving the shores of the UK!




JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com
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