For 26 years he has lived and worked in the Marca with his companion from Treviso. “Despite the ticket already paid, I was forced to find another flight”
TREVISO. She was not treated like an ordinary Russian citizen, who had lived in Italy for 26 years, but almost like an oligarch. Boarding an “Air France” plane for the return journey from a holiday in Santo Domingo with her Italian companion, she, a 49-year-old Russian, permanently resident in the Marca since 1996, on 2 March, when the war between Russia and Ukraine had been raging for 10 days, was left incredibly on the ground.
Reason: his nationality. Too bad that she, employed in a studio in Villorba and with a freelance from Treviso as a partner, had a regular residence card in Italy. The incredible story of her, which forced her, together with her companion from Treviso, to find a new flight to Venice, delaying her return to Italy by almost a day, will in all likelihood have legal consequences. Air France, in fact, refused any good-natured negotiation, despite the fact that the failure to board the return plane caused her and her companion damage of over 4,000 euros.
Mrs. Viktoria, can you tell us the story that involved you together with your companion from Treviso?
“I’ll just make a small premise: I’ve lived permanently in Italy for 26 years, I have a residence card, with no expiry date, a health card and residence in Treviso”.
An “Italian-Russian” citizen, therefore …
“Let’s say yes, even if what happened to me seems to be the exact opposite. My partner and I left on February 8 for a vacation in Santo Domingo. We had planned it for some time and, through the on-line services, we had pre-booked the return flight tickets Venice-Paris-Santo Domingo ».
So you left before the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out …
«Too bad that what happened to us happened when the war had already started for 10 days. During our stay we had learned about it through the on-line news on our mobile phones but we did not have the perception of something so serious ».
We are on March 2nd and what happens?
“My partner and I do the boarding operations on the Santo Domingo-Paris flight and at check-in, when I give my passport, the problems begin”.
“I hand over my documents and, while waiting for them to give me a paper boarding ticket, the head of the Air France flight, in contact with Paris, makes me understand that there are problems related to my nationality and that I cannot get on the plane . They tell me that as a Russian citizen they didn’t understand why I had to go to Italy ”.
“I do the simplest thing: I point to my companion from Treviso who is next to me, I show my residence card in Italy and my health card, I explain that I have been living and working permanently in the province of Treviso for 26 years and that I have a regular I return with the French company, the same with which I had flown three weeks earlier to reach Santo Domingo without problems. I thought they were more than valid explanations to overcome the impasse ».
«Incredibly they leave us on the ground. We stood in front of the boarding gate until the very end, hoping for an afterthought. Until the flight took off ».
How did you react?
“Very bad. I started to cry. I felt discriminated against because of nationality. Luckily I had my partner by my side who gave me strength. He tried to play down and immediately said to me: “Come on, let’s find another flight straight away” ».
And was it so?
“Immediately no. We found a plane that departed from Santo Domingo with a stopover in Madrid and destination Venice in almost 12 hours from there. Among other things, with the Spanish national airline, Iberia ».
You were lucky …
«Yes, luckily they had four free seats. While we were booking the ticket we told our story and they were also disappointed. The Spaniards told us: “But what was the problem”. Exactly, I still wonder now ».
What are you going to do?
“Well, we immediately filed a complaint with Air France, pointing out that between the Iberia plane ticket for two people (2,800 euros) and the one already paid but not used for the return with Air-France, there is an economic damage that exceeds 4,000 EUR. It would have been enough for us to reimburse the damage, but the good-natured attempt had no effect. Therefore civil action is inevitable from which we also demand an apology ».
A civil action against Air-France which will also include the damage from a ruined vacation. A lawyer, the lawyer Paolo Salandin, has already been consulted.