A British holiday-maker has told how she lost her £1,050 dream break because of a little-known rule about passport issue dates.
Kirsty Hawes, 28, had booked an all-inclusive holiday to Mallorca, Spain, with her best friend through TUI.
Teacher Kirsty had made sure to check her passport’s expiry date – which was due to expire in March 2024 and arrived at Luton airport on August 16.
However, she was stunned to be told she couldn’t fly because her passport was issued on August 15, 2013 – 10 years and a day previously.
Before Brexit, Brits could travel up to and including the expiry date on their passports
But EU regulations now mean a UK passport holder wanting to visit Europe needs a passport which was issued within the previous 10 years.
Kirsty “had no idea” of this rule and said it wasn’t made clear when booking through TUI – although admits it was in the small print on a confirmation email.
She has been told she can’t get a refund for her £1,050 holiday but wants to make other people aware of this new rule.
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 But they were serious and said my passport was out of date.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.”
Following several family and friend deaths, Kirsty was looking forward to a relaxing getaway with her friend.
She decided to splash out on a £1,200 inclusive trip to Mallorca after getting a promotion.
Her friend had booked the holiday on behalf of the two of them in April and added in their passport number and expiry date in the booking form – but not the issue dates.
The friends turned up at Luton airport at 3.30pm on August 16 2023 ready for their flight but when they went to drop their bags off Kirsty was told she couldn’t fly.
“You can’t fly and can’t get your money back”
She said: “They said you can’t fly and can’t get your money back.”
Kirsty found out her passport was 10 years and a day passed the issue date – despite the expiry date not being for another seven months.
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.”
Kirsty convinced her friend to go out alone but is “distraught” that she has had to miss out.
She said: “I was so excited to chill. I love the sun and being tanned.
“It’s really frustrating.”
“I can’t afford another holiday”
Kirsty has tried to put in a complaint to TUI – asking them to make it clearer to holidaymakers their issue date needs to valid – 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.
Kirsty said: “I have been told that Tui will not give my money back as it is in terms of conditions which was right at the bottom of the email, not easy to find and in small print.”
Her insurance provider was unable to help and told her to contact TUI.
She said: “I’m not going to get my money back.
“I can’t afford another holiday.”
Kirsty hopes travel providers can make it clearer when booking of the new rules since Brexit so others don’t have the same happen to them.
She said: “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.”
TUI has been approached for comment.