Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mind your own damn business

Dalibor arrived in Prague yesterday. While checking in for his flight in The America on Friday, the check-in lady asked him where he would be staying. Dali questioned her need to know and was told that it was a new regulation, that the Czechs wouldn’t let him into their country unless he told her, an airline check-in lady in The America, where he was staying. Dali explained to her that he had been to the Czech Republic many times before and that the passport control people had never wanted to know where he was staying so why did she, an airline check-in lady in The America, need to know where he was staying. But it’s a new rule, Sir… Sorry, check-in lady, even if I wanted to tell you, I couldn’t. I am staying with a friend and I don’t know his address.

Dali had waited in the queue to check in for 2 hours and there was still a massive queue behind him.

Sir, I can’t give you your boarding pass until you tell me where you will be staying in Prague. But Dali did not back down. Check-in lady, I am not going to tell you a damn thing because the Czech Republic is still a free country and I can sleep in the train station if I want to.

Finally she gave Dali his boarding pass, but only after warning him that he could be deported from the airport in Prague and that he would be charged 2,000 US dollars for the service. I wonder where she picked up that juicy bit of information. She wanted to make sure that he had a credit card so that he would be able to pay.

So the next day Dali arrived at the airport in Prague where you don’t even have to fill in a landing card or any sort of immigration paper, and he, of course, got through passport control without anyone asking him any questions at all.

What was up with that check-in lady?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

CZECH REPUBLIC - *Passport required. Visa not required for business and tourist stay of up to 90 days. Visa required for employment and extended stays and should be obtained before travel. Must provide proof of sufficient funds and health insurance coverage. If not staying at hotel, motel, hostel, etc. registration at the local police station is required within 3 business days after arrival. For specific requirements, consult the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (202/274-9123) or the nearest Consulate General: Los Angeles, CA (310/473-0889) or New York, NY (212/717-5643). Internet: www.mzv.cz/washington

Anonymous said...

From the czech embassy website:

All foreigners must register at a Czech Immigration Police Station within 3 days after their arrival in the Czech Republic (address of the Immigration Police in Prague is: Sdružení 1, Prague 4, tel.:011-420-2-614 411 19). Visitors accommodated in hotels/hostels will be registered by hotel/hostel owner.

Max said...

Anon, thanks for the information, but the requirement to register with the police is not true for holders of US passports. It is also not applicable to travellers with passports from other countries on the visa waiver list, nor to holders of EU passports and those from EEA countries.

And even if it were true, it would not explain why the check-in lady wanted to know where Dali was staying.

Anonymous said...

Your welcome for the information.

The Czech embassy website clearly states "all foreigners", it doesn't say "All foreigners except US citizens". Whether that practice is followed in the Czech republic itself is a different story.
However, I agree it could have gone smoother, for example assuming the czech embassy is correct, the airlines could have simply explained to your freind that if he was not staying in a hotel or hostel, he was required to register with the czech police within 3 days of arriving, and to ensure he had sufficient funds etc, basically what the website explains, then it's up to your freind to heed or ignore the statements.

Max said...

Anonymous, you are wrong. The information on the website could have been written more clearly, however they only expect you to look at the page that applies to you. The actual situation is as I wrote above. Trust me, I know, I have lived in this country as a foreigner for nearly 14 friggin' years.

Anonymous said...

well then just stay in check-land...all of you...and stop complaining

Max said...

Thanks for your advice, Anon, but I will never stop complaining until there is nothing legitimate left about which to complain. Besides that, I enjoy it.