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Family devastated after passport rule forces them to cancel ‘dream’ vacation

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A family have been forced to miss their first holiday together after passport rules left their holiday plans in tatters.

Charlotte Wilton, 36, was shocked to be barred from boarding her flight to Athens by easyJet staff. She was traveling with her husband Matt, her speech coach, six-year-old Ronnie and 18-month-old daughter Ciara when she was told she could not board.

Her passport, which was still valid for five months, was over 10 years old – meaning she cannot enter the EU under new post-Brexit rules.

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EasyJet said Charlotte would not be eligible for compensation as it is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure they have the correct documentation to travel, reports The Mirror.

Charlotte, from Somerset, spoke of her disappointment after being forced to tell her six-year-old son that his ‘dream’ vacation to Greece had been canceled – claiming her face was the ‘worst aspect’ of the incident.



Charlotte’s passport was valid for an additional five months due to the government’s old practice of allowing unspent time to be added to new passports.

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“We got to the front of the queue, and Ronnie checked everything out first and ran straight to the jet bridge because he was so excited to get on the plane,” she said.

“My husband took my baby from me, checked everything and was about to pass, but then the guy looked at mine, showed it to his manager and the guy came over and said ‘you don’t can’t get on the plane – your passport has run out’.”

The trip, which was the first since Ciara was born and the first time Ronnie had left the country, came at a time when the family needed a break and reunion, Charlotte said, after Covid and a number of health scares.

Matt, 49, was recovering from a battle with cancer and also suffered from fibromyalgia – a long-lasting condition that causes pain throughout the body – as they were still awaiting the results of a scan Ciara had undergone for a lump that had grown on her stomach.



Charlotte said they felt like criminals

Upon arriving at the airport, Charlotte said everything went pretty well – the family checked in, went through security and had a few downtimes before heading to the departure gate.

But their journey ended at the gate, where Charlotte said her encounter with the ‘terrible’ member of easyJet staff who denied her boarding left her ‘very upset’.

The family were escorted back to a departure gate where they waited ‘a good half hour’ for an easyJet representative to meet them, only to be told they needed to be ‘escorted’ out of the airport. airport, Charlotte said.

“He made us feel like c**ps, like criminals,” she added.

The family were told by another easyJet representative before leaving the airport that they could move their flights to another date, at a cost of £100 each, but had to choose the dates on-the-fly -field.

Unsure how long it would take her to get a new passport, or whether her husband would be able to take time off work, Charlotte said they were forced to decline the offer.

They returned to Charlotte’s father, where she began to research what was wrong and found accounts from others who had had similar experiences.



The family have been informed that they will not receive any compensation

“If I had known – if it had been clear online that anyone whose passport was past that ten year date would not be able to travel – then obviously I would have applied for a new passport sooner,” said she declared.

“That was the first thing that upset me – it wasn’t clear anywhere online about the rules. And the second thing was the very poor way the situation was handled at the airport.”

The new rules surrounding extensions had taken some like Charlotte by surprise while many others had been wrongly barred from boarding their flights due to their airline’s interpretation of a rule that a UK passport must be valid for three months upon departure.

It seemed that problems had probably been caused by conflicting advice on the UK government’s website, which reads: ‘For some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old for the duration of your visit, and the three months at the end of your visit. may need to be within 10 years of the date your passport was issued.

The opinion also states: “We ask the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule”.

Charlotte had emailed the hotel the family was to stay at, and although the family lost money on their first night’s accommodation, the money for the rest of their accommodation was put in waiting, because when they re-booked the trip.



EasyJet said it is up to customers to check all rules before flying

She now hoped the airline would offer credit or refund their flights as compensation for her experience.

But an easyJet representative said: “EasyJet follows current government rules on passport validity as set out by the governments where we operate.

“Unfortunately we were unable to allow Ms Wilton to travel with us from Bristol to Athens as she did not have valid documents for her flight.

“To help customers prepare for their flight, we remind customers when booking and before they travel via email to ensure they are aware of the requirements of the destination they are flying to and it is to customers’ responsibility to ensure they have the correct and valid documentation to travel.”

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