Indian American Passengers Claim Airline Deported Them From Moscow to India
The Indian passengers had flown in from New Delhi to Moscow, from where they were supposed to catch a flight to New York.
An Indian American couple and other Indian-origin passengers traveling from New Delhi to New York via Moscow on Aeroflot airlines claimed to have had a terrible experience on Jan. 7, 2018 when they were “deported” to India despite being American citizens.
Shohana Islam, 26, and Marc Fernandes, 27, said they were in New Delhi on a vacation and were returning home to New York. They had a connecting flight from Moscow, where they said an airline agent forced them to fly back to India after the flight from Moscow was cancelled due to bad weather in the United States.
The agent called Mikhail reportedly told them, “All citizens of the country that need visas in our country after 24 hours will be deported.” “Deported to the US!” Fernandes responded. “Deport me, please deport me!” said Islam.
“We even said, you don’t have to give us a hotel, we have lounge access like we’ll literally go stay in a lounge and sleep in sofas and chairs. Book us on the next flight to anywhere in the U.S., to London, Paris, any major hub,” they told WUSA 9.
In a Facebook post, Islam wrote, “This guy is discriminating against Indians and trying to ‘deport’ us all back to India. As a US citizen per IATA regulations they need to send us to the US, not back to India. He literally looked at people and decided who needs to go back to India. Can I sue him and Aeroflot???? Who knows???”
The airline agent said that he was talking to “Indian passengers” despite holding on to the passenger’s U.S. passport.
Another Indian-origin passenger also claimed to have faced discrimination by Aeroflot agents the same day.
“To my horror, I saw many U.S. citizens (white in color) come by and get their tickets for later flights or be told to wait in lounge and will be called once the details are ready. Once such couple was coming in from Saigon with JFK as the final destination. I was shocked to see lies and racism at full play at the airport. U.S. citizens were given separate treatment based on color. One woman with a crying baby was rudely told to come back after the baby is quiet,” Anshul Agrawal said in a Facebook post.
Mikhail, also named by Islam and Fernandes, told Agrawal that he could either take the boarding pass he had issued to him for New Delhi or they will force him to leave. Being a U.S. citizen, he asked to be deported to the United States but was left stranded at New Delhi with no hotel or taxi. Agrawal, who had been visiting Jaipur, went back to the Rajasthan capital and said that he would receive a ticket for Jan. 13 only.
A spokesman for Aeroflot said the airline is conducting a “thorough internal investigation,” according to WUSA 9.