A family had their dream holiday ripped into pieces after an airport employee spotted a “millimetre” tear in one of their passports.
After paying £7,000 on a dream holiday for her family, Suzanne Senior, her husband Steve, daughter Bethany and her boyfriend did not expect to be turned away by an airline while trying to board on Friday, August 4.
But after an employee for Qatar Airways noticed a small rip in Bethany’s passport ID page they were told she would not be able to board the plane to Phuket, Thailand.
The disgruntled family, from Oldham, was forced to change their plans, so while Bethany’s boyfriend continued on his flight to Thailand, the rest of them booked a second flight to Turkey and boarded the plane with no passport issues, reports Manchester Evening News.
Steve, Suzanne and Bethany are now trying to enjoy a holiday in Fethiye, Turkey, which cost £5,000 on top of their already lavish £7,000 trip, with £3,000 worth of Thai Baht going to waste.
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Childminder Suzanne, 55, told Manchester Evening News: “We’re absolutely devastated, we had plans to go and see the elephants, the islands, everything. We’d looked forward to that holiday for 12 months.
“I’m fortunate that I could go to that desk in Manchester Airport and book another holiday. Not everyone is in that position, they’d have to go home.”
“We couldn’t even see [the rip], loads of people said there was nothing wrong with it, It’s a tiny millimetre tear so we don’t know why it was turned away.”
Suzanne says the family also withdrew £3,000 worth of Thai baht currency that they can no longer use, and hope to be able to claim it back on their travel insurance.
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A passport is classed as damaged when someone cannot use it as proof of identity because of its condition, according to the Government website.
Damage can include when the personal details or observation page are unreadable; laminate peeling or lifting away from the personal details page; unreadable security details; missing or detached pages; where the front, back or personal details page has been cut; damage or discolouration to any part of the passport caused, for example, by water, chemical or ink spills, tears, rips or bite marks.
Suzanne said: “We’ve forked out another £5,000 to come here, I’ve got £3,000 of Thailand baht currency in the luggage that I can’t even use. We’re going to try and claim it back on the insurance. It’s a nightmare. Honestly, you couldn’t write it.”
In correspondence seen by the MEN, Qatar Airways said it was “regrettable” that the airline was unable to accept Bethany’s passport for travel.
While the airline said it “sincerely” regretted any inconvenience caused, it declined any liability as the “primary responsibility to be in possession of the correct documentation prior to travel lies with the passengers”.
The airline added that the passengers themselves “have to ensure that they are in possession of the necessary entry clearance documents prior to commencing travel in order to avoid such encumbrances”. It also refused to reimburse the family’s out-of-pocket expenses.
The Daily Express has reached out to Qatar Airways for comment.
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