Distressed mother not allowed on flight with family due to ‘confusing’ passport rules

Ukraine: Radio caller housing refugees shares Ryanair ‘scandal’

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Ana Tiganescu, who is a scientist at the University at Leeds, was told she wasn’t allowed to travel on a flight to Faro, Portugal. The check-in desk staff said it was because her passport was issued more than 10 years ago.

Passport rules have changed and they differ depending on which airline one flies with.

Ana was supposed to fly to Faro, Portugal, with Ryanair.

It would have been the scientist’s first trip abroad in three years, where she would have seen her family.

Ana’s husband and son were allowed to travel, but she had no choice but to head home.

Despite having six months left before her passport expired, Ana was not permitted to travel to Portugal for the week-long holiday because her passport was issued more than 10 years ago.

Ana’s family were forced to decide if they would travel without her or not, but they were told their hold luggage would have to stay in the UK as Ana was the one who checked it in.

“This was a huge shock and very distressing for us all – especially my son, who didn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to go with them,” Ana told The Mirror.

“I was left very upset, in shock, and humiliated, waiting for an unspecified amount of time, almost two hours, for a Ryanair steward to escort me back through security.

“This situation was deeply distressing. When I finally made it back out of the airport, I was in such a state that I couldn’t remember my postcode for a taxi home.”

She continued: “I think it will be complete chaos this summer, when people begin travelling again for the first time since the pandemic.

“No one is going to look at their passports if they have a year left. The Government claims they sent a million text messages about this in 2019, but that was only to people who gave their phone numbers when they applied for a passport ten years ago.

“For such disruptive changes, likely to affect thousands of UK people, I believe it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the public are fully aware.”

Ana added: “Everyone affected by this rule change should have been notified individually that their passports would no longer be valid for EU travel, even if still in-date – this contradiction is very confusing.

“This situation is not helped by airlines not being under any obligation to check passport issue dates at the point of booking – a simple change that would leave ample time to update documents if necessary.

“I am aware that going on holiday is a privilege, compared to the situation in Ukraine. However, this does not excuse a lack of preparation and foresight by the government, clearly evidenced by the widespread issues that people are facing, and which should have been prepared for long before the Covid pandemic and current situation in Ukraine.

“The Government has had since 2016 to plan.”

New passport rules have come into place since the UK left the EU in 2016.

The UK Government’s official travel advice website for Portugal informs the public of the country’s entry requirements.

The website states: “Your passport must meet two requirements. It must be:

“Less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’).

“Valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’).”

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