A COUPLE celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary were incorrectly barred from boarding a TUI flight due to a complicated passport rule.
Melanie and James Bulpitt got straight to the gate before being turned away and then marched out by security – ruining their £1,357 holiday.
The couple from Salisbury, Wiltshire had been looking forward to their all-inclusive week in sunny Zakynthos for months.
But they were “completely devastated” when, after uploading their details online, scanning their passports at check-in, enjoying a meal and drinks in the terminal and queuing at the doors of the plane, they were told they had couldn’t get on, get in, get on.
Mel, 48, whose passport expires in February 2023, said: “I was sick. We were both completely devastated.
“As far as I’m concerned, my passport was within the deadlines, it doesn’t expire until next year.
“We had a meal and a few drinks like you do after you check in that everything was great and then we had that.
“We were completely down.”
Mel and James, 47, were then escorted through the airport and out the door by security before embarking on a depressing journey home.
“Oh my god, I felt like a criminal,” Mel said.
“We had security guards escorting us back through the airport. It was terrible.
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“They had to get our suitcases off the plane and the staff was really quite rude.
“They basically told us, ‘You have to go.’ We were shocked.”
Before Brexit, UK passports were valid for travel within the EU up to and including their expiry date.
But since the UK left, passports must have at least three months left before their expiry date.
They must also have been issued within the last 10 years.
The confusing rules mean you could be banned from traveling within the EU if your passport expires within three months of your holiday, or if it was issued more than 10 years ago.
Mel’s passport expires in February 2023 and the issue date was May 5, 2012, so she should have been allowed to board.
She repeatedly checked requirements before heading to Bournemouth Airport on May 2, so she was confident she was safe.
“WE HAVE BEEN CLOSED”
“I’ve looked into this extensively and they’re definitely wrong,” Mel said.
“But they refuse to compensate us or help us book another holiday.
“They told me I should have checked the validity of my documents, but I did.
“As for me, I could fly.
“I challenged them and I’m still waiting for an answer.”
After driving home in tears, the couple decided to book a few days in the New Forest as there is only one flight a week from Bournemouth to Zante.
And while it’s “beautiful,” it’s nothing compared to the luxe relaxation they’ve set their sights on at their adults-only resort in Greece.
“It’s really beautiful in the New Forest, but it’s not what we expected,” said Mel.
“It should be a nice, relaxing, sunny holiday.”
A TUI spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear about Mr and Mrs Bulpitt’s experience.
“We will be reaching out to customers directly for an apology and a full refund of holiday expenses.”
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8756209/couple-banned-boarding-flight-passport/ Our £1,400 holiday was ruined after we were banned from boarding a flight due to a confusing passport rule