Sunday, July 21, 2024

Woman turned back at airport and misses out on family trip to France

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A British mum, Hollie, who is an avid traveller and social media influencer known as Hollieandthevan, was left devastated after being denied boarding for her family holiday to France due to stringent passport regulations.

Hollie, who often documents her adventures across the UK in her converted VW crafter with her children, promoting solo female travel, took to TikTok last week to share the gut-wrenching moment her trip came to a sudden halt.

She recounted the “heartbreak” of being turned away at the airport because her passport, although valid until 2025, had been issued over a decade ago.

It’s a reminder for UK passport holders to stay vigilant about EU travel rules.

As per Citizens Advice, travellers must renew their passports if they have less than three months remaining at any point during their trip or if the passport exceeds ten years from the issue date upon entering an EU country.

The official Gov.uk site further clarifies that UK citizens heading to the EU or Schengen zone won’t require a visa for short stays under 90 days within a 180-day period when travelling for tourism. This also extends to other short-term reasons such as attending business meetings, participating in conferences, studying short courses, seeking medical treatment, or engaging in journalism.

The Schengen zone, encompassing countries such as France, Spain, and Italy, is a dream destination for many UK travellers, reports Birmingham Live.

In a cautionary tale, Hollie shared her travel mishap in a video, stressing the importance of passport checks: “I should have been in France with my husband, children and family this weekend. Instead I was turned away because my passport didn’t meet the ten-year rule, watching my husband and children head off without me.”

She warned fellow Brits, saying: “I had no idea about this post-Brexit travel regulation and it seems so many of you didn’t either, so I thought I would share this so that you get the heads up that I missed.”

Hollie elaborated on the specifics: “UK passports must have at least three months’ validity and be less than ten years old to enter the EU. My passport was issued in April 2014 and was therefore ten years old in April 2024.”

She explained the predicament further: “However, because I had nine months left when I renewed my passport in 2014, they added those months on, therefore my passport doesn’t expire until January 2025. Those remaining nine months are no good to me since post-Brexit UK passport regulations, because I can’t use my passport now that it’s over ten years old.”

The traveller stressed the flaws he encountered in the check-in process, “What is most frustrating about the process is that you must enter your expiry date when checking in, but you don’t have to enter your issue date, where this problem could have been flagged. ‘It’s your problem, you should know the rules’, is what I was told at the gate when I was denied boarding. I didn’t know the rules then, but I do now!”

In light of his experience, Hollie called on others not be caught out like he was and made sure they checked their passport’s validity. “Also, if you need an emergency passport, you need to allow two days to get one. The earliest you can renew is 2 days after you apply for the appointment at a passport office.

“Don’t have your heart broken like I did, know the rules (like I didn’t). Please share this with anybody travelling to the EU from the UK soon. I hope it’s useful.”

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