Cameron Smith and Shanice Budd-Smith had been looking forward to spending some time in Portugal’s Algarve only to be turned away from their flight at Gatwick Airport due to problems with their passports
(Image: Portsmouth News/Solent News)
A newlywed couple have had to trade their dream honeymoon for a trip to Britain’s safari park after being turned away at the airport due to a little-known passport rule.
Heartbroken Cameron Smith, 27, and Shanice Budd-Smith, 29, were looking forward to a romantic, sunny honeymoon in Portugal but are now visiting Longleat instead.
The newlyweds – a postman and a postwoman – both have unexpired passports, but when they checked in at Gatwick Airport they were told by EasyJet they would not be able to fly to the Algarve as planned.
They were shocked to learn that Ms Budd-Smith would not be allowed into the country as her passport expires on August 10 this year.
It is Portugal’s policy that travelers must have at least three months left in their passports to enter the country – meaning Ms Budd-Smith missed just 13 days.
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Portsmouth News/Solent News)
The couple were “burned out,” and Mrs. Budd-Smith was “embarrassed and humiliated,” crying at the check-in desk.
Mr Smith and his Portsmouth wife, Hants, were married at Hayling Island, Hants, just two days before arriving in Gatwick on Sunday morning.
Postal workers told how they worked overtime and hadn’t been on holiday for three years to save £500 for a five-day honeymoon in the Algarve.
Instead, the couple have planned day trips for a week, including Brighton in East Sussex, London and Longleat Safari Park near Warminster, Wilts.
Famous for its sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages and luxury resorts, the beautiful Portuguese coast of the Algarve is currently enjoying temperatures of 27ºC.
Today it rained in Longleat and the temperature was around 13°C. This weekend, the park will showcase its new fleet of ten plug-in hybrid Mini Countryman vehicles in the main square of its mansion.
Mr Smith said he was shocked to find his wife’s expired passport would not get her on her dream holiday.
He said: “We had absolutely no idea this was a rule, I asked all my friends and family about it and they had no idea either.
“When the woman told us, we just couldn’t believe it.”
The couple were also furious when they said the EasyJet worker was “rude” about the stressful ordeal.
Mr Smith said: “The problem was that she was also very rude and just said ‘you will be deported if you leave’ which made us feel like criminals.
“She didn’t care that we had just lost our honeymoon, she was just trying to move us forward.”
Ms Budd-Smith said: “I didn’t know what to think when she first said it, I was like ‘this can’t happen’.
“It was going to be our first holiday since 2019, we had worked so hard for it.
“It made me feel like the balloon I had throughout the wedding popped here and then.
“[The EasyJet worker] was quite loud when she spoke to us, all the feelings of embarrassment and humiliation came and I cried – she just didn’t seem to care.”
She added: “If your passport expires in August, I’m sure it should be working by then.
“You shouldn’t put an expiration date on it if it expires three months before.
“We would warn others to check the rules before flying.”
The couple could not get a refund.
A spokeswoman for EasyJet Holidays said: “We are sorry to hear that these customers were unable to travel.
“It’s really important for customers to check that their passport is valid for their holiday and meets the criteria for their destination, which is why we remind our customers throughout the booking process and in the emails they receive prior to their departure .”
Cameron and Shanice aren’t the only couple facing holiday breaks due to issues with their passports.
Sophie Fleetwood was due to fly to Pegasos Royal in Alanya, Turkey, at the start of the pandemic, but has had to cancel her family vacation twice due to travel restrictions.
Two years later, the Reading woman is finally ready to head to the sun-drenched resort in early June with her husband, three children, father and stepmother.
However, long waits at the passport office mean she is without her travel document and not sure if she can go.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/uk-ireland/newlyweds-forced-swap-dream-honeymoon-27061347 Newlyweds have to swap their dream honeymoon for a British safari park due to a passport error