Real-life The Terminal: Tourist has been stranded at Manila Airport for more than 100 days after being trapped due to the corona virus echoes from Tom Hanks movie
- Roman Tromifov has been stranded in the departure hall of Manila since March 20
- The Philippines stopped issuing tourist visas and AirAsia canceled all its flights
- His ordeal mirrors the 2004 movie The Terminal starring Tom Hanks and is set on JFK
A tourist advocates being rescued after spending more than 100 days at a Philippine airport during the Corona virus crisis.
Roman Tromifov has been stuck in the departure lounge of Manila International Airport since arriving from Bangkok on March 20.
He was denied entry to the country after the Philippines suspended the entry visas due to the virus pandemic, but was also unable to get out because AirAsia canceled the entire timetable and there are no flights back to his home in Estonia.
His ordeal reflects the 2004 movie The Terminal in which Tom Hanks shows an Eastern European tourist who was left behind at JFK Airport after a coup in his home country.
The film was loosely based on the true story of Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in limbo at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris from 1988 to 2006.
Stranded: Roman Tromifov (pictured) has been stuck in the departure lounge of Manila International Airport since arriving from Bangkok on March 20
Roman Trofimov’s case echoes the 2004 movie The Terminal, in which Tom Hanks (pictured) plays a tourist who gets stuck at JFK Airport in New York
Trofimov took an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Manila on March 20, just as the world was overrun by the pandemic.
The Eastern European tourist was traveling in Southeast Asia, but his schedule was in chaos when the Philippines closed its borders.
When he arrived in Manila, he was told that the Philippines is no longer issuing tourist visas, meaning he was unable to enter the country.
He had booked a return flight to Cebu Province for the same day on March 20 and a return flight to Bangkok for April 2, but both were canceled.
According to the Estonian broadcaster ERRTrofimov traveled on a so-called ‘gray passport’ for people with unclear citizenship.
The Estonian authorities say the document – also known as an ‘alien passport’ – is issued to people with Estonian residence rights who cannot obtain another passport.
Trofimov claims that AirAsia took the passport when he arrived at the airport, which means that only AirAsia can fly him back.
However, the airline canceled all its flights to the Philippines in March due to the virus pandemic and has yet to resume its international flight schedule.
Roman Trofimov (photo) was denied entry to the country after the Philippines suspended entry visas because of the virus pandemic, but he also couldn’t get out because AirAsia canceled his entire schedule and there are no flights back to his home in Estonia
Trofimov’s makeshift accommodation at the airport where he was stranded for more than three months after the Philippines refused entry
Trofimov says the Estonian embassy has been unable to arrange his repatriation, although officials claim he refused an evacuation flight.
“It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines at a time when countries had announced emergencies and issued a travel warning to the State Department,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.
Trofimov says the embassy offered him a flight to Amsterdam, but claims he was asked to pay the € 1,500 ticket out of pocket, which he couldn’t afford.
He now lives at the airport for 110 days from March 20 to July 7.
The tourist compared his situation to being a prisoner. He said, “I’ve been stuck here for over 100 days. I need help getting out. ‘
“The airline said I have to wait until the Enhanced Community Quarantine is over before I can fly,” he said, referring to the Philippine lockdown order.
Trofimov slept in an airport hotel room and survived from food and snacks donated by the staff.
He added: “I am a disabled person, my health is deteriorating from malnutrition, lack of sun and fresh air. I have no choice but to go public. ‘
The Tom Hanks movie is inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who spent nearly two decades at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
After being denied entry to Britain in 1988, he was sent back to France, where authorities ruled that he should not enter the country and be expelled from the airport.