A Brit claims she lost out on her summer holiday because of an EU passport rule. The woman’s trip set her back £1,050, but she was unable to fly due to the mistake.
Kirsty Hawes, 28, had booked an all-inclusive holiday to Majorca, Spain, with her best friend through TUI. Like all self-aware holidaymakers she checked her passport's expiry date before she left.
She had been excited to get away after a break up and the death of several family members. Kirsty booked to go to hotspot with her pal in April with a flight at 3.30pm on August 16 from Luton airport.
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However, when they checked their bags she was told she couldn’t fly or get her money back. All because of her passport.
Noting that it was to expire in March 2024 she thought she was good to go. After all, Spain requires there to be three months left for you to fly and Kirsty had more than that.
However, the young woman had missed a vital part of Spain’s entry requirements. Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years ago – and Kirsty’s was issued 10 years prior to the day before her flight.
It meant that her passport wasn’t valid to travel to the EU. She said she had "no idea" about the rule and that it wasn’t made clear when booking.
However, she admits that it is in the small print on her confirmation email. As ensuring you have the appropriate documents is the holidaymaker’s responsibility she has been told she can't get a refund for her £1,050 holiday.
She attempted to get a temporary passport but the earliest appointments in London were two weeks away. Kirsty said: "I was in the middle of the airport crying my eyes out. I was so excited to chill. I love the sun and being tanned. It's really frustrating."
Kirsty has tried to put in a complaint to TUI – asking them to make it clearer to holidaymakers – but has been told it has to be issued under the lead passenger. She was told over the phone that she can't be issued a refund as the information on passport validation was included in a confirmation email.
She attempted to get a temporary passport but the earliest appointments in London were two weeks away. Kirsty said: "I was in the middle of the airport crying my eyes out.
"I was so excited to chill. I love the sun and being tanned. It's really frustrating."
But, she wants to make other people aware of this rule which has been enforced since Brexit. Kirsty wants travel providers to change their booking pages to include the date of issue for the passport to flag up passports that would be invalid.
Kirsty, from Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, said: "They took our passports and said you can't fly. I thought it was a joke. But they were serious and said my passport was out of date.
“I said 'No it's not – it doesn't run out for seven months'. I was panicking and burst into tears. This was the one thing I was looking forward to all year.
"Holiday companies need to add an issue date of passport onto their websites when booking and checking in so this will raise the issue so people are not left stranded at the airport, crying their eyes out."
A TUI UK&I spokesperson told Daily Star: "We’re sorry that Ms Hawes was unable to fly on holiday as planned as her passport did not meet the required government requirements.
"We regularly remind our customers that it is their responsibility to check that all travel documents are up to date before booking any flights, and we continue to encourage customers to check their passports after booking with us via confirmation and countdown emails.
"Details of passport validity guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice."
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