Holiday warning to parents as ‘inconsolable’ mother forced to leave daughter, 10, behind

Coronavirus passports 'should be mandatory' says Gale

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An up-to-date passport is essential for travel out of the UK and around Europe. One woman shared her experiences after learning her daughter’s passport had expired before a holiday to Greece.

Samantha O’Connor made the discovery a few days before her family was due to go on holiday.

She had booked a luxury holiday to Greece which cost a total of £3,500.

Daughter Ellen, 10, had a passport but the family realised it was out of date as they prepared for the trip.

Samantha, from Dublin, began the lengthy process of renewing a passport straight away.

The holidaymaker claimed she even contacted her local politicians in the hope they could speed up the process.

However, she was not able to sort it in time and instead daughter Ellen had to stay with her aunt.

“We were making sure we had everything sorted when we realised that the child’s passport had expired,” she told Dublin Live.

“It was a renewal – it’s not like she hasn’t had a passport. She’s had two passports previously.

“I couldn’t put my holiday forward because I’d have to give five working days to do that.”

Samatha and her family made the decision for some members to travel on holiday in the hopes Ellen and her father could join shortly after.

The family were due to spend two weeks in Greece and Ellen and her father booked a flight to join in the second week.

However, Samantha shared her frustrations waiting to see if Ellen would be able to make that flight.

The mother continued: “I flew out with my other daughter [to Rhodes] on Saturday.

“My husband could follow us out with her on the second week.

“But my whole first week of the holiday went sitting by the phone waiting and checking emails.

My whole first six days here literally went sitting by the phone and making sure I had internet and signal in case someone was going to ring me, which they never did.”

Samantha stressed her disappointment as it was meant to be their first family holiday in two years.

She continued: “We went all inclusive. It’s our first holiday in two years and it never happened for her.

“She was devastated at the beginning. I was devastated. I was inconsolable even going out on the flight because of the thoughts of leaving her behind.

“This whole holiday was a way of doing something together as a family again.”

Ellen was unable to join as the passport had only been posted a few days before the holiday was due to end.

A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “The turnaround time for applications such as child renewals and first time applicants begins only when we receive all required supporting documentation.

“When an application has been correctly completed and all documentation has been received the Passport Service is making every effort to issue passports as quickly as possible.”

Holidaymakers are advised to be prepared and ensure passports are up-to-date well in advance of any travel.

Getting a passport renewed can take a minimum of 10 days, however this can be longer due to a backlog brought on by the pandemic. 

The Government recommends having at least six months on a passport before travel, and that a passport is less than 10 years old. 

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