national

10 passengers from Hong Kong bypass airport immigration by mistake

18 Comments

Japanese budget airline Vanilla Air said Monday that 10 passengers on one of its flights from Hong Kong entered Japan without going through immigration due to misguidance at Narita Airport on Sunday night.

The company had contacted the 10 passengers by Monday evening and requested them to clear immigration at the airport.

The transport ministry issued a strong warning to the airline and demanded it report the cause and preventive measures to the ministry by Friday.

This is the second time that Vanilla Air has been given such a warning by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry after a similar incident in April last year, when a total of 159 passengers from Taiwan entered the country without passing immigration clearance due to its mishandling at the airport.

"I believe preventive measures have worked well, but I feel very responsible that it has occurred for a second time," Vanilla Air President Katsuya Goto said at a press conference in Tokyo.

After the flight arrived at 10:13 p.m. Sunday, a total of 169 passengers got on three buses from the plane to an airport terminal.

But a 63-year-old driver of one of them mistakenly took its 34 passengers to an arrival gate for domestic flights instead of that for international flights, according to the air carrier.

The mistake surfaced after some of the passengers told a staffer at the terminal building that they did not go through immigration procedures.

Of the 34 passengers, 24 cleared immigration, customs and quarantine after being notified by Vanilla Air and other staff, but the remaining 10 entered Japan without going through the necessary procedures.

The budget airline was unaware of the mishandling until it was reported by the passengers, as no staff from the airline was on the bus, it said.

© KYODO

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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With budget carriers you don't get what you don't pay for!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Done the same at Manchester and at Frankfurt. Before the recent terrorist panics but after 9/11.

I suppose the authorities are looking for criminal masterminds, and not random, wandering idiots....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How did they pick up their luggage, if they had gone to a different arrivals gate?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Similar incident happened to me in Guangzhou China a few years back. They told everyone who had come from Tokyo to get on one bus, so I did. But it turned out that it was a tour or something from Tokyo, who were transferring domestically, whereas I was just a lone traveler, and was going to Guangzhou, not transferring. They took me to the wrong terminal, and when I asked where my luggage was, they told me I was at the wrong terminal, and somehow in getting me to my terminal, they bypassed immigration.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think they should be blaming themselves and not the airline. If two groups from the same airline can do it, anybody can do it. This is definitely the fault of narita airport administration for leaving such a gaping whole in the security of the airport. They should be thanking the airline for showing their flaws, not scolding them for it.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

What Disillusioned said.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How is this the fault of the airline? Aren't buses staffed by people hired by the airport?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is what happens when you still depend on buses!

And those ten people are going to have to do some explaining when they go through immigration on their way back home (unless they can find the same bus driver!)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sounds like there is an easy way to get some illegal immigrants into Japan. Pay off one bus driver (who is probably only earning 250,000 a month) with a healthy bonus, and voila! Bypass immigration!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's obviously an issue with the airport, not the airline.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Lucky passengers! Usually budget airlines gates are at the most furtherest point from immigration, then there is the queues as Japan experiences massive influx of tourists. Probably saved an hour and a half.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

isnt it the responsibility of the airport and Japan immigration that passengers are checked once arriving in Japan, while the airlines do have some responsibility, terrorism, quarantine, passport controls are the J Gov responsibility

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How did they pick up their luggage, if they had gone to a different arrivals gate?

Many who fly budget airlines only have their carry on luggage, yet this is still a great question.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Remember arriving by ferry to Macao from Hong Kong back in the '80s by ferry - we berthed before dawn, and my fellow passengers - and also, apparently, the customs staff - were content to wait until sunrise, but I had stuff to do, so I went to customs - and no one was there! I had to yell several times until finally some sleepy-eyed official appeared and dutifully stamped my passport. Don't know what repercussions would have occurred if I'd simply continued on my way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surely the hotel they booked into would have noticed that there was no stamp in their passports? I know that when I arrive at the hotel the desk staff always check my passport. They were lucky not to have a random check by a police officer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So funny that that 10 are a news item in Japan. Make that 10,000, and you have a typical European border, and the politicians will praise the cultural enrichment.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It happened to me in China during transit. From the airplane a bus picked us up, I got out and the staff kept on pointing to different ways... suddenly I found myself outside of the international terminal... had a fun time getting back in..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maria: How did they pick up their luggage, if they had gone to a different arrivals gate?

Maria, the Immigration is first you have to pass and then collect luggage and go through Custom (Red channel or Green channel). These passengers still have to go through Custom (Red channel) or go out via Green channel even though they have by-passed Immigration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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