I was flying from Boston to Moscow through Amsterdam with my wife and two children. After landing in Amsterdam we went to board our next plane, to Moscow. My passport was checked for my Russian visa, which I had, but its effective start date was not until the following day - in other words it wasn't active until midnight. For that, the ticket person told me he would not let me board the plane to Moscow since we would have been arriving several hours before midnight.
My family and I had to take the next flight to Moscow, which would land after midnight, and the airline made us pay full price for the cost of a new ticket for each member of my family. My wife was not able to travel alone with the kids as my youngest is an infant and my oldest is only 3 years old. They did not need visas as they all have Russian citizenship.
My question is, did they have the right to hold us in Amsterdam? I wanted to fly on to Moscow despite my visa date being the following day, and would have just waited in the Moscow airport until midnight (if necessary). What really got me thinking about this was the fact that when we went to board our later flight, the ticket attendant never even checked to see if I had a visa, let alone what its start date was.
1 Answer from Attorneys
I don't know the law concerning visas, but it seems to me that if you visa was not effective until the next day they had a right not to admit you to Russia.