Four Kenyans are sueing KLM and Air France in a visa row that ended in deportation. Paul Kinuthia Kagwe, Grace Ngina Kinuthia, Priscilla Nduku Wangui and Erastus Ndegwa Wangui, were arrested and deported by French immigration officials at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
The four booked four return tickets to Canada via the KLM website and obtained visas to travel to Canada on holiday. They left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on October 6, 2018, at about midnight and arrived at the Charles De Gaulle Airport the following morning. They had a six-hour 15 minutes layover and sat at the airport Terminal 2E waiting for the onward flight to Canada, which they boarded without a hitch.
However, during their return flight, things went terribly sideways. When they landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport from Canada on October 15, 2018 aboard an Air France flight and presented their passports at one of the terminals where they had been referred to by a security officer, their trip was terminated by French immigration officials on the grounds that they did not have Schengen visas. The group was stunned as this was the first time the Schengen visas for transit were being mentioned to them.
The group had a two-and-a-half hour wait before boarding for their departure to Amsterdam, but instead, their passports were confiscated and they were detained in a holding cell at the airport for over eight hours without food, water or toilet facilities. They called KLM in Paris for assistance but they were directed to get visas from the Kenyan embassy. They claim that they were not engaged long enough to enable them explain their troubles. They were later deported from France on October 17, 2018 aboard a Kenya Airways flight following intervention of family friends and Kenyan immigration and Kenya Airways officials. They now blame KLM and Air France for not having informed them of the Schengen visa requirement for any transit layovers in France.
KLM and Air France, however, object to the suit and want it dismissed because the suit if filed in Kenya while the grievances mentioned happened in France. However, the four Kenyans argue that the airlines have misconstrued the facts of the matter, given the case lodged is not on arrest but breach of contract. They argue the contractually legally-binding transaction was entered into in Kenya.