01-11

One of the worst things that can happen to a traveler is to get offloaded from his flight.  The truth is, there is no definite list of things that one can do in order to completely avoid being barred from boarding his plane.  It can happen to a tourist, a CEO on a business trip, and even OFWs.

This article intends to inform travelers of what they need to have on hand when checking in and boarding their planes.  These are based on actual experiences of other travelers as well as tips from Immigration Officers (who have seen one too many passengers suffer the consequences of incomplete and insufficient documents to corroborate the veracity for their trip).

  1. Be ready with sufficient travel documentation.
    • Your passport must have at least six months before expiration.
    • Your visa must be updated (if visa is required in your destination).
    • Print out your hotel booking confirmation as well as receipts to prove that you have paid your accommodation in full.
    • Be able to present a return ticket to the Philippines, where the date and time of your flight are clearly stated.  The date on your return ticket must not exceed your allowed period of stay.
    • If on a guided tour, print out a copy of your itinerary and familiarize yourself with the places you will be visiting.
    • OFWs must have their work contracts handy.
    • If traveling with a minor who is not your child, or minor is illegitimate and traveling with the father only, be able to present the necessary travel permits secured from the DSWD.
    • Your PSA Marriage Certificate and PSA Birth Certificates could come in handy to verify your age and affinity.
  2. Provide consistent, clear, and confident answers to the Bureau of Immigration officers.
    • Maintain your composure when being interviewed by an Immigration officer.  Listen carefully to his questions and provide honest answers.
    • Avoid saying too much; simply state what is being asked of you.
    • Expect questions such as: “What attractions are you planning to visit in….?” and “Who will be paying for your trip?”  Again, it pays to be familiar with your travel itinerary and be prepared to prove that you can afford the trip.
  3. Dress appropriately.
    • While travelers are free to dress as they please, it would do a first time traveler good to choose clothing that is not too revealing or too casual.
    • If traveling to a country during winter season, you are expected to bring a jacket, beanies, and gloves.  When traveling to the Middle East, you are expected to wear the prescribed clothing in the country, especially for women.
    • Showing too much skin might trigger an impression of a sex worker which is a red flag among immigration officers.
  4. Immigration Officers look out for solo travelers.
    • When traveling alone, be prepared for further questions from Immigration officers as the Immigration is particular on travelers’ safety and security, more particularly for female solo travelers.
    • Any inconsistency in the traveler’s answers and documents, however minor this may be, could be grounds for the passenger to be denied his flight.
  5. Be firm with the purpose of your trip.
    • If you have nothing to hide, you should be able to ace the interview and be allowed to board faster.
    • Immigration officers do not only listen to your answers, they also observe your body language.  Be confident and sincere when talking to them.
  6. Be able to prove that you can afford the trip.
    • Sponsored travelers must be able to provide an affidavit of support and guarantee, including letters of invitation authenticated by the Philippine consulate or embassy in your destination country.
    • Prepare a copy of your financial statements, certificate of employment, proof of salary, credit cards, and other proofs of residency.  Unemployed travelers must be prepared to show how they will be paying for the trip; if someone else is paying for the trip, prepare authenticated letters of invitation and other proofs that someone else will be shouldering your expenses while abroad.
  7. Be able to provide information about your sponsor (if you have one).
    • If someone else is paying for your trip (a friend or relative who resides in your destination country, your school or office), you should be able to support this with documents.
    • Have their complete names, addresses, and contact information handy during the interview.
  8. If traveling as a government worker, secure the necessary clearances and other permits.
    • If you are a public school teacher, barangay councilor, etc., keep your clearance or travel permit handy during your interview.  Failure to present a travel clearance could prevent you from boarding your flight.
    • Private employees must have sufficient documents to prove they are employed and have been granted leave by their employers.
  9. Review your travel history.
    • If you have been traveling for some time, review your old passports and be able to recall your most recent trips.  First time travelers must be consistent in their reason for traveling abroad (will visit parents who live abroad, giving myself a break, would like to experience snow, etc.).
    • Any history of being offloaded in the past could raise red flags.  You need to be able to state the reason why you were denied your flight in the past and how the issue was resolved.
  10. Watch your attitude.
    • Avoid getting into an argument with the Immigration Officer.
    • Answer politely at all times.
    • Do not attempt to bribe the officer in order to get past inspection.

Immigration Officers are there to help keep the safety and security of travelers.  It is our obligation to submit to their inspection and provide them with truthful statements and authentic documents, if only to prove that our trip is what we declared it to be: tour, business trip, emergency, etc.

These are tips that can help travelers better prepare for their flights and be able to enjoy a hassle-free journey to their destinations.  The decision to detain a passenger and prevent him from taking his flight is entirely the discretion of the Immigration Officers or any other circumstances that may arise even if the passenger has met all the items listed in this article.

Source: https://www.pinoy-ofw.com/news/35048-9-tips-to-avoid-offloading-at-naia.html

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