11 people chartered a private jet from the US to the European Union, and were refused entry, as reported by castedduonline.it. But they’re angry. Really angry. They feel they were “treated like criminals,” and plan to “ask for damages.”
EU eased border restrictions on July 1
First it’s important to understand that the European Union had major travel restrictions for many months, and those were supposed to be eased as of July 1. However, the external border restrictions were only lifted in a very limited way.
In reality at most residents of 15 countries are now allowed to visit the European Union, and Americans aren’t among them. This announcement was finalized last minute, on June 30, though in reality we already knew for over a week leading up to that point that Americans would be banned.
The private jet that flew to Sardinia on June 30
On June 30 a private jet with 11 passengers flew from Eagle, Colorado, to Cagliari, Sardinia, landing on the morning of July 1. There were a total of 10 passengers onboard the flight:
- There were six adults, including two Americans, two Brits, a New Zealander, and an Italian
- There were five children, including three Americans and two Germans
They landed at around 10:30AM, but weren’t let into the country, because at least the Americans weren’t actually allowed to enter Sardinia (and more broadly, the European Union).
What was the purpose of the trip? One of the passengers wanted to see family and friends in Sardinia, while other passengers “had to evaluate the purchase of some companies and a house.”
The authorities tried to investigate and make something work, so the passengers ended up spending over 12 hours in the arrivals and general aviation hall. The passengers had proposed quarantining together in a home that they had rented, but there’s no such exception for allowing people into the EU.
Finally at around 11PM they were told that they needed to leave. At that point the plane flew to Birmingham, England, simply because the pilots were too tired to fly any farther (understandably).
How angry can people be about something that is their fault?
- “We have been treated as if we were criminals, it is not fair”
- “Who will reimburse all the anticipated expenses and money?”
- “I have to go to my lawyer and find out what can be done, I want to ask for damages”
Why did they think they would be allowed in?
This is the biggest unanswered question. According to the passengers, they “had all the authorizations from the region and the airport, in addition to those of the flight operator.”
The passenger being interviewed claims that “the decision came into effect when [they] were already flying.”
That raises a lot of questions:
- Were the passengers hoping that the EU would open borders to everyone come July 1? Because we knew in the days leading up to July 1 that this wouldn’t be the case.
- Were they trying to take advantage of the Italy “business travel” exception that may have existed all these months? I can’t imagine that’s the case, since they were also taking kids along.
- While everyone left again on the jet, it’s not entirely clear who was rejected. Obviously the Americans would have been rejected, but did the Brits and New Zealanders reside in the US as well, and that’s why they were rejected? It sounds like that might be the case, based on the fact that they all tried to arrive on July 1, specifically.
Based on what we know, I have a hard time feeling sorry for the passengers on this private jet. While the EU entry rules were only published last minute, we knew in the days leading up to this that those residing in the US would be banned from entering the EU.
No matter what regional authority, airport, or aircraft operator “authorized” this, it doesn’t supersede the EU rules…
Yet the passengers feel they were treated very unfairly, and plan to seek damages…