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Aer Lingus Force Greek Woman to …Language Test!

A Greek woman, resident of Cork, Ireland, was forced by airlines Aer Lingus to undergo a language test both in Greek and English to prove her passport was not forged. The woman, a telecoms manager, was about to check in for a flight to Ireland at Barcelona airport, when she was asked to fill two forms, one in Greek and one in English, to prove she is…. real. The test had … genius questions like “Please write your forenames and family name in capital letters” or “Please underline the numbers twelve and sixty-five: 12, 18, 24, 37, 41, 49, 57, 65, 73, 89.” Although Chryssa Dislis had an EU biometric passport.

“When she protested that there was no legal basis for fluency in either language in order to have a Greek passport, their luggage was taken off the aircraft.

Asked for an explanation, the Aer Lingus handling agents’ manager on the ground, she claims, told her this was “because many people from your country travel on false papers”.

She was travelling together with her husband and her 10-year-old daughter. Now Dr Dislis is preparing a legal complaint under equality legislation.

Aer Lingus apology over language tests for passenger

A Greeek telecoms manager who has lived in Cork with her family since 1998 was forced to do a language test in English and Greek before being allowed to board an Aer Lingus flight home to Ireland from Barcelona recently.

Dr Chryssa Dislis, who holds a Greek (and so EU) biometric passport, was travelling to Ireland on January 6th after a short break with her husband and 10-year-old daughter. When they tried to check in for the flight the local agents for Aer Lingus insisted she fill in two forms, consisting of language tests in Greek and English.

When she protested that there was no legal basis for fluency in either language in order to have a Greek passport, their luggage was taken off the aircraft.

Asked for an explanation, the Aer Lingus handling agents’ manager on the ground, she claims, told her this was “because many people from your country travel on false papers”.

The agent’s staff did not ask to see any additional ID and ignored the fact Dr Dislis held a biometric passport, which are regarded as falsification-proof. She had used the same passport to enter Spain from Ireland only six days earlier.

Dr Dislis felt she had no choice but to fill in the forms, and asked for a copy. This was refused on the grounds they were internal documents. Her husband then photographed the forms, but the manager became threatening and said he would call the police, they would be arrested and the camera confiscated. She and her husband insisted the police be called.

“A very polite and calm policewoman arrived, who told them to put our luggage back on the flight and check us in,” Dr Dislis said.

“She asked us to delete a couple of the photos that showed staff members but, after a heated conversation with the manager, asked us if we would please delete the photos of the documents. We complied with the request and were checked in.

“All of this took place in full view of everyone in the queue. My daughter was deeply distressed and crying, and I found the whole experience very disturbing.

“In the age of biometric passports, such illogical and discriminatory ‘tests’ are entirely unacceptable. I was only targeted because of my nationality and no serious attempt was made to check that I was indeed flying back home, where I came from only six days previously,” she said. Her husband managed to retrieve the photographs from the camera and she transcribed the forms.

Dr Dislis travels extensively for work on various airlines and has never encountered this problem before. She asked both the Irish Department of Justice and the Garda National Immigration Bureau if the policy emanated from them. They said it had not.

She complained to both Aer Lingus and its Spanish agents. They confirmed that this is official policy, although Aer Lingus apologised for the distress caused and offered a travel voucher of €200.

In its response, the Spanish agents, Newco, said one of the most effective tests they have for the validity of documents is a language test. “One of the most forged documents is the Greek passport together with Portuguese and the Italian [ones],” they said. “Forged Greek passports are often used due to the difficulty Spanish people have in determining if the passenger speaks accurately. In fact, most of the Greek passports we have dealt with have turned out to be fraudulent documents.”

Dr Dislis is preparing a complaint under equality legislation. She is also bringing this to the attention of the European Commission and has raised it with the Greek embassies in Ireland and Spain.

A spokeswoman for Aer Lingus said that, as its legal department had received correspondence, she could not comment.

See also the Language test questions in Irish Times

PS Good to know for Greek passport holders: if they don’t speak Greek or English, they can’t use Aer Lingus  LOL

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41 comments

  1. In the UK, AL are commonly called “Air Fungus” (μούχλα)

  2. iaourti iaourtaki

    What an idiotic colony. Why don’t they ask them for Gaelic or learn it?

    • Ireland isn’t a colony and everybody learns Gaeilge (IRISH) in school.

      Secondly, I worked as a translator in Dublin and countless number of times I translated for people (non-greek) travelling on forged Greek passports to Ireland.

      And you would swear that Greece was a non racist country (HA) I live here in Greece, I spent years in Ireland am half greek, half irish and I;ve seen more evidence of racism in Greece than in Ireland…….

      • What’s the problem with those Greek passports? Why are they so easy to be forged?

        • keeptalkinggreece

          that’s urban legend! they’re biometric issued according to EU standards.

          • Yeah, I thought so. It’s EU law, after all. That’s why I’m so surprised to read that. Forgeries? Of those allegedly super-duper secure documents? Huh…

          • Dunno – but perhaps simple and plain corruption (?)

      • iaourti iaourtaki

        It’s a “colony” because they proudly speak the language of the colonists, max 1.2 millions learn Gaelic at school.
        There will be the same jokes with Basque if they get indy from Spain. Every European country is racist because they are all part of racist Fortress Europe. Racism is that without stealing potato culture from Indios there would hardly be any Irish population anymore but instead they call Boston an Irish city and had banned American Indians from town for nearly 400 years, until 2004.

        • My schizophrenic neighbor makes more sense than you. But he’s taking his prescriptions, of course.

    • @iaourti iaourtaki

      That is an utterly inflammatory comment and you knew that when you typed it. This is an example of how an airline within the E.U. can treat E.U. citizens – which is completely unjustified!

      Insulting Ireland and the Irish people by calling them ‘an idiotic colony’ was uncalled for – how do you know the manager/handling agent/air hostess/whatever was IRISH?! YOU DON’T!

      The issue is the power airport staff have and how they abuse it FULL STOP. It can happen anywhere.

      Also, if you want to continue insulting people unjustly, at least get the name of the language right, there is no such language as ‘Gaelic’. In Irish it is ‘Gaeilge’ in English it is ‘Irish’.

  3. Yep, sounds like racial profiling which should be illegal. But, my neighbor who is Albanian says he gets stopped all the time from the Greek police when he has done absolutely nothing which also is a form of what happened to this Greek lady. What can we do to end all racial profiling? I don’t know.

  4. We Greeks, are not crooks,liars and unreliable, as they want to present us lately! We are people with morals, dignity and great past! We respect other nations, we do not create problems and we do not cause wars!!! It would be nice,those who do not know us at all, to leave us alone!

    • Just some nuances to your statements:
      Not all Greeks are crooks, liars and unreliable. But some definitely are. Most Greeks have morals, dignity and some have a great past. Like in every other country.
      Alas, a lot of Greeks do not respect anybody else. Not outside their little circle of friends and family and especially not other nations, finding themselves superior because of that past that is so far back that it is difficult to count it in generations. I have never heard so many people calling their fellow citizens so often crooks, idiots and liars than here in Greece.
      Yes, there are also Greeks who create great problems. One of those we are living through right now.
      And about not causing wars… It’s often a chicken/egg discussion, but the Megalo Idea and the actions that followed might constitute a war causing event.
      And one last point: when I hear someone around say “leave us alone” it is my experience that in 9 out of 10 times they mean “me, my family and a couple of friends” and certainly not Greece and the Greeks in general.
      😉

      • A big part of the problem obviously is that too many Greeks of questionable credibility and lousy ethics hold very prominent positions, in politics and the economy! And of course this influences the impression of the rest of the world negatively. Yet another reason why it’s so important to kick those bums out.

      • So, what you’re saying is that they did right thing. Is it o.k. for you to treat people like this infront of their kids, without any respect? Would you like you were in the position of this woman and to have your child there ? All I am saying is that we, all, must behave in a more sensitive way …

        • Helen, if you are directing this reply at me, the answer is categorically NO. It is awful. Period.
          But it has nothing to do with Greekness. It is nothing out of the ordinary. And THAT is what we all should be angry about. And tomorrow it will be you or me, because we are bald or have green hair.

        • The woman should think herself lucky she wasn’t English. Would you like to be in this position? A few weeks ago a writer went through security at Gatwick airport and was ordered to remove his, shoes, belt & scarf, which he did with no complaint, his mistake was asking why the woman who was cloaked from head to foot in a burka, only eyes showing, was allowed through with no checks. They hauled him into a room and accused him of being offensive, he’d said nothing to the woman, but apparently a muslim security woman took the offence, the man insisted the police were called, they came and sided with security, told the man ‘you live in a different country now, you MUST not say such things, they FORCED him to apologise, for doing saying nothing detrimental. I will be more than surprised if anyone finds what was done to this man this offensive! But the moral of this story, unless you’re English anyone and their dog can just walk through passport control/security, in England, but lo & behold you’re English, then you’re interrogated, you dare answer back and you’re accused of racism, bigotry, xenophobia or any of the other politically correct diktats that now rule our lives. London, is now known the world over as Londonistan, because the authorities are too frightened to check identities. Now I have no doubts whatosever a poster will find this comment/racist etc., to be honest I don’t care because I only speak the truth, and if the truth is racist I plead guilty. I doubt this will even get past the moderator.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            and who was this writer? I also experienced some -what I thought ‘exaggareted’ – checks 1st time I travelled to England some ‘centuries’ ago. but wait until you fly to and fly from Israel. You will have to answer unbelievable questions. They made me once miss the plane, because I was bold then I had found the questions stupid lol For most of the countries, the checks have security, illegal immigration or drugs motives. But racism?

          • It was a children’s writer, I think he writes Postman Pat. :)——-In this country it’s got so that you’re frightened to open your mouth in case you say the wrong thing, there’s now a law where a 3rd party can be offended on behalf of someone else, and can get you arrested. It’s beyond ridiculous, in fact it’s quite sinister. Racism, sexism, & discrimination are huge lucrative industries in England, so there’s a big vested interest in keeping racism etc., at the top of the agenda, even where none exists, we even have perceived racism, if someone thinks you’re being racist it’s enough to have the police knock on the door, I’m not joking here. We used to have a justice system where you were innocent until proven guilty, now if you’re accused of racism, it’s guilty until proven innocent. And there’s plenty of accustions as there’s big compensation packages to be had. What the race industry has done is make a mockery of those that suffer real racism.

      • iaourti iaourtaki

        “Megalo Idea”:
        Does that mean that Greece that “was stone broke since 180 years”, f.i. without Crete, her independence day Obama had the balls to put into relation of the American independence day? Who were the Turks and who the American Indians?
        Or are you talking about Sèvres treaty that decided to leave Greek troops in parts of Minor Asia until a referendum would decide in 1925 about joining Turkey or Greece?
        For the 2nd case this war was started by Atatürk and megalo ideas came on it’s way. Regarding Turkish propaganda Cyprus case is also megalo idea and Greeks made genocide to the Turks there…

        • You seem to know the answers that suit you. So be happy and content with it and don’t pretend to be the slightest interested in what I meant.

          • iaourti iaourtaki

            I give you an anarchist view and ktg will call the commet to long…:
            May be i took you totally wrong but for me this sounds like the Turkish version of winners writing history and for me your comment just sounds like for peace just step back and everything is fine. The future will show what it means that for Turkey it’s a “Casus Belli” if Greece tries to explore more oil in the Aegean and in this case the reason why it took so long to start were three main reasons: 1st – oil and gas suppliers finance parties, 2nd – interest of multinationals to keep the price high and 3rd – step back for peace… But the last one not only nationalists called “no balls”.

            There is in lots of countries a huge difference between nationalism and patriotism and the Greek Nazis may believe they were coming from planet Serius ignoring that half of the freedom fighters in 1821 were Albanians/Arvanites and in fact their version of history came from Philhellenes that also wrote their own definition of ancient Greek democracy and Olympic Games into history books. And their kind of megali idea i wasn’t about. If you think that m.i. caused the war in Turkey in areas where “Turks” and “Greeks” lived together for generations in a – if not anti-national – a between-national way and there was never any right for Greek troops to stay there (F.i. Smyrna was 85% Greek before Armenians seek refuge and Atatürk’s troops burnt 100-200.000 to make it become Izmir) you might also think the real motivation of kicking out the Italians was the western part of m.i. “getting back” Sicilia and Calabria and in fact you can find maps of this greater Greece in Greek restaurants painted at the wall. Does that mean also that it would have been better not to fight against the Ottoman Empire?
            You know what? I have no chance to ever live in Greece but i’m fed up with that “Jud Süß” propaganda style esp from some expats living there and instead of being satisfied for this chance and supporting the struggle of all the people living in Greece, always smearing against them like so many German tourists falling in love with Greece and pointing out: “Greece is so nice but it would be better without the Greeks”
            So, most of the countries may not even have a proper reason for patriotism except from that their mom brought them into existence – i can only be proud of what i do not of where i’m born – but in a antifascist meaning people of Greece might have it and most of the Greeks i know won’t claim that too loud because they have nothing to proof and as you’ve said, their “We” does not mean a nation but they might call the Junta being not patriotic because it was a sell-out to USA and GB…
            So this is may be a reason why the protesters against Merkel (when will she finally cone to Greece?) in Rome carried a Greek flag. So if Greeks never brought war may be they should be proud of starting the social war of fight back…

          • keeptalkinggreece

            this comment is too long!

          • Yeah, and that’s all Antonis’ fault! He mentioned that “M***** idea”. And now look at the result!
            😀

          • keeptalkinggreece

            can you imagine they would ask the woman to translate “Megali idea” or even write a 150-word essay about?

          • Iaourti is a woman? Well, I’m not really sure she could limit herself to just 150 words when writing about that topic!
            😀

          • keeptalkinggreece

            I have no idea, I don’t think so though. I was just writing what I was asked to comment

          • … “Jud Süß” propaganda style esp from some expats living there and instead of being satisfied for this chance and supporting the struggle of all the people living in Greece

            How DARE you! Please stay away as far as possible from Greece.

  5. AntonisX, I couldn’t have said it better….. Rewind to 2004 when there was a Greek TV commercial playing (for the Olympic) which showed some Asian Tourists waiting for a Table in a Taverna and they weren’t being shown the courtesy and other Greeks were just cutting in front of them and being shown to their seats by the rude Host at the restaurant. Then a Greek comes up and hugs these Asian tourists and then the restuaurant “Host” says, “Ah, Kostas, they were with you, why didn’t you say so”. The commercial narrator then says, “Be nice to our tourists during the Olympics”.

    We need daily commercials like this I think and should learn to be nice to fellow greeks too, not just your family…

    • LOL! Think I remember that one… Or is it a projection of how things really were/are??? 🙂

    • Greece is no different from any other country in that they have rude, ignorant waiters/waitresses or any others that serve the public. There’s many in this country that serve the public in shops, restuarants etc., don’t know the words please and thank you, politeness & civility costs nothing.

      As to Aer Lingus, I don’t blame them for checking as eastern bloc non-EU countries often use false passports claiming to be Greek etc. Those coming from outside Europe don’t both with false passports, they come with no paperwork at all and claim ayslum.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        “as eastern bloc non-EU countries often use false passports claiming to be Greek etc.” can you support it with a link?

        • Sorry if I didn’t come across clearer but I wasn’t insinuating they were all claiming to be Greek, I meant that people from non-EU countries in the Eastern Bloc pass themselves off as citizens of EU countries. Many, and I mean many, claim to be anything other than what they are, well they do when they come here, and they are many 🙂 No I can’t provide links but I can tell you from experience that you can walk down almost any of the inner city roads in London and hear almost every language under the sun, and sometimes not hear and English speaking voice. English in some cities is a second language. I’m not against, or I wasn’t, immigration, but I am against what politicans/EU have done to my country, they have encouraged unlimited immigration/migration, so much so that the infrastructure is having trouble coping, yet still they come and are let in. Taxpayers are having to subsidise millions of the in-comers with welfare benefits, and they’re very generous to immigrants/migrants, many can get up to £26,000 per year while our pensioners get about £6,000 a year, many get free housing, education, health treatment. The EU & human rights state we’re not allowed to refuse though other countries in the EU ignore the EU on this, Spain only pays benefits for 6 months, we have to pay come what may, but that’s alright because it isn’t the EU bureaucrats paying for it all, it’s the taxpayer. Don’t get me wrong we have plenty of home grown feckless, idle welfare claimants and I feel the same about them. I agreed with genuine refugess/asylum seekers coming here, but now it’s totally out of hand and I want it stopped altogether, but I dream, it won’t happen. I don’t blame the immigrants I blame the government and EU.

          • Anon you are absolutely spot on with all your comments above, the UK people know it, the Politicians know it, infact the whole world probably knows the UK is the country to go to for handouts (including thousands spent on interpreters)and yes including our own who have been allowed to play the system! It has got so out of control and the sad thing about it is….it’s too late to do anything about it.

  6. No comment AntonisX :))))

  7. What does everyone think about foreigners who get stopped in routine checks by Greek police when they haven’t done anything wrong? Has anyone else experienced that? I know they are just doing their job and truly I support the police because they have a tough job, but sometimes when you have a foreign appearance, you get stopped more and it’s annoying. Has anyone else noticed that, and what do you think?

    Is this any different than what happed to this lady in the story?

    • keeptalkinggreece

      in Greece not even illegal immigrants undergo language tests to prove they are whom where they claim they are….

  8. Yeah, but most illegals don’t carry ID so they won’t get deported back to where they don’t want to go. That’s the problem. You catch a person who looks like he’s from a specific country, but then how can you send him back if he doesn’t have a passport and the illegal won’t tell the police where he’s from. I saw a documentary once that says some illegals prefer to live in jail in western countries and at least get free meals and a bed, then starve in their own countries. What do you make of that?

    • Illegals are like banksters, they try to live off the state for free, forever. They transfer their problems always to other people. I been stopped coming into the UK with a Greek ID card. Was told it was fake, then told the customs offcial to check my name on the database and my address and was then told that they don’t have the technology. So what type of customs are they then I asked. He then threatened me to not be allowed in, when I said what if I make a run for it, what will happen? He called security and two men with machine guns turned up. I then told him almost the whole world comes to London and no one bats an eyelid and now you spotted a fake ID card and how did you do that I asked. He said he put it under a machine as if checking a £20 note. I told him thats all he is going to get, no driving licence no credit card nothing, he will let me in, otherwise put me on a plane back, to Germany where I came from. He then said I had to wait for another gentleman who was Indian who asked me if I speak English. I asked him, as this isn’t a condition of entry to the UK as half the shopkeepers in London dont, so why bother asking. He then said I am being objectionable, I said you are acting like a customs official and this hasn’t been your role for 2 decades now, so why change a habit of a lifetime. He then said please Sir pass… Total comedy show.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        lol more or less the same has happened to me there, I was going to UK from Germany too – probably they have something against Greeks who have visited Germany first…