AN NHS worker has missed out on her dream holiday due to a passport issue, despite being given the all-clear by her travel agency.
Jacqueline Elliott, 60, was due to fly to Bulgaria on Friday, May 20, to celebrate her retirement.
She said that on booking the trip with Hays Travel in Hove, she was told by a worker that the fact her passport was due to expire in July would not prevent her from travelling.
She booked the holiday in January and, after hearing about passport issues on the news, decided to confirm again with Hays that her passport would be valid for travel in May.
It was then that Jacqueline, of Portland Road in Hove, was told by a Hays employee that the passport would not allow her to fly to Bulgaria as the country requires arrivals from the UK to have a minimum of three months left on them.
On April 30, Jacqueline sent off for a new passport but this has not yet arrived.
She said a Hays employee advised her she was unlikely to succeed in making an inusrance claim over the missed trip.
“Why did they allow me to book a holiday if my passport wasn’t in date?” she said.
“You can’t book it unless you’ve got your passport with you.
“I feel as though I’ve been penalised for something that they should have checked. If they looked at it and said my passport was all right, why am I now in this position? It is ridiculous.
“I have lost nearly £1,000, then I’ve had to buy a new passport. I’m a person who will fight for my rights, I won’t lay down and be kicked on the floor. I’m an honest person, and I feel that this is wrong.
“They said ‘you have lost it now, you won’t have that holiday now’.”
Jacqueline has booked a new holiday in September and requested that the cost of her May trip be deducted from the revised date – but Hays declined this, saying that the rescheduled date is too soon.
She said despite realising that passport expiry is the responsibility of the individual, Hays was to blame in this instance as the travel agency advised that there would be no issue.
“I don’t feel that they should be allowed to sell me a holiday if my passport is not right,” she said.
“I would like to see things change. I would like to see it so they actually check it properly – I am not asking anyone to get sacked – but it was only when I went back, it was me that noticed.”
It comes as the Passport Office advised people to allow ten weeks for the arrival of their new document from when they applied, though many have been left waiting much longer, with reports of some travellers waiting five months.
A surge in applications has threatened the holiday plans of many acrosd the country. The rise is thought to be due to families putting off renewing during the pandemic.
Holidaymakers travelling to EU countries have been warned to check passports are valid. Post-Brexit travel rules mean many EU countries are insisting passports must be more no more than ten years old from the point of issue and be valid for at least three months after the date the traveller plans to leave the country they are visiting.
Hays Travel has been contacted for comment.