'I lost my £1,050 dream holiday due to obscure EU passport rule'

‘I lost my £1,050 dream break to Mallorca due to obscure EU passport rule and was left crying my eyes out at the airport’

  • Kirsty Hawes passport  did not expire for another seven months
  • She was looking forward to the getaway, after the death of several family and friends

A British holiday-maker explained how she lost her £1,050 dream break because of a little-known EU 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, before she 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, over 10 years prior.

Before Brexit, Brits could travel all the way up to the date their passport expired.

But EU regulations now mean Britons must hold a passport which has been issued less than 10 years before their day of arrival to the EU.

Kirsty Hawes (pictured) who lost out on a £1050 holiday because of a little know EU rule

The luggage of teacher Kirsty Hawes who was left ‘crying [her] eyes out’ in Luton Airport after she was told she could not go on holiday to Mallorca

Kirsty ‘had no idea’ about this rule and said it wasn’t made clear when booking through TUI. However, she 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, 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 But they were serious and said my passport was out of date.’

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, it did not fall within the EU rule.

‘I was panicking and burst into tears. This was the one thing I was looking forward to all year.’ 

Following a break-up and several family and friend deaths, Kirsty was looking forward to a relaxing getaway with her friend. 

She took the plunge and decided to splash out on a £1,050 inclusive trip to Mallorca after getting a promotion.

Her friend had booked the holiday for the two in April and added in their passport numbers and expiry dates in the booking form – but not the issue dates.

The friends turned up at Luton airport at 3.30am on August 16 2023 ready for their flight but when they went to drop their bags off Kirsty was told she couldn’t fly.

She said: ‘They said you can’t fly and can’t get your money back.’

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.’

She convinced her friend to go out alone but is ‘distraught’ that she has had to miss out.

The new EU regulation post Brexit means Brits must hold a passport which has been issued less than 10 years before their day of arrival to the EU. Pictured: file image of a new British passport

Kirsty wants TUI and other travel companies to make the new rule clearer to customers. Pictured: File image of TUI flight

She said: ‘I was so excited to chill. I love the sun and being tanned. It’s really frustrating.’

Kirsty has tried to complain to TUI, asking them to make it clearer to travellers that their issue date needs to valid.

She has since 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 also 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 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. 

The 28-year-old also thinks the new passport rules post-Brexit should be made clearer by travel companies, so others avoid it happening 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.’

MailOnline have approached TUI for comment.

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