College can be pretty stressful on young adults, and going through airport security can be just as irritating. But for 19 Indian students trying to start a new semester in California, their airline experience was beyond stressful. They found themselves in a situation
where the airlines actually did not allow them to board their plane.
The students were trying to board their flight bound for San Francisco at the Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Air India prevented the students from going onto their plane until clearance was given from Air India's US office for their travel. The reason being to prevent students from being "inconvenienced."
Air India defended their reasons in an official statement:
"Air India received communication on December 19, 2015 from the US Customs and Border Protection agency that two universities namely Silicon Valley, San Jose, California and North Western Polytechnic College, Fremont CA are under scrutiny and students who arrived into San Francisco were not allowed to enter the US and were deported back to India. Students travel on a one-way ticket to the US and, in the event of deportation, incur huge expenditure to buy a ticket back to India on first available service. Further, seats are often not available on any airlines to travel back. Considering the situation, as a precautionary measure and to avoid inconvenience, students booked for travel to take admission to these universities are not being accepted on Air India flights."
According to an Air India official, the students who had been granted entry into those particular schools were immediately deported back to India. "To avoid embarrassment to them and save their money, we prevented them from boarding the flight," the official said.
The airline offered a full refund and waived charges on the nineteen students. Air India said it will accept students traveling to the named universities once clearance is given from the airline's US office.