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Family holiday ruined after Ryanair stops teenager boarding flight over passport issue

by Staff

A teenager’s first overseas holiday was ruined – along with his New Year’s Eve celebrations – after a problem with his passport led to Ryanair refusing to let him fly with his parents.

With the eight-day dream trip in tatters, the family has been left more than £1,000 out of pocket.

Jake Barton, 19, was all set to board a flight to Spain with the low-cost airline out of East Midlands Airport on 28 December to mark the turned of the year in Europe.

However, he was turned away at the gate.

His parents claim he was unable to travel due to a 1cm tear in his passport, which Mr Barton believes he damaged on a night out, reports The Sun.

His parents were still able to fly to but wouldn’t leave their son behind.

Read more: Can you be refused entry to a country if you have a damaged passport?

“We had gone through all the checks but right at the very end, Ryanair turned us away. It was absolutely heartbreaking. It would have been one thing if he had been turned away at the first instance, but to get to the gate you start getting into holiday mode and it’s just awful,” said Rachael Burton, Jake’s mother.

“The worst part was this woman wouldn’t even look him in the eye when she told us no. We had to be walked back through the airport, even down the runway, to leave. It was just awful.”

The family had been trying to go to Benidorm for years to see friends, and there’s little chance of getting any money back, Mrs Burton added. Jake “thinks it’s his fault”, she said, and he “hasn’t come out of his bedroom” since they returned home.

“I think this has put him off flying for life.”

A spokesperson for Ryanair told The Independent: “This passenger was correctly refused travel on this flight from East Midlands to Alicante (28 December) by the gate agent at East Midlands Airport as his passport was damaged and therefore not valid for travel.”

According to HM Passport Office, a damaged passport is one that cannot be used as proof of identity because of its condition. Damage can include:

  • Laminate peeling or lifting away from the personal details page
  • Unreadable details
  • Missing or detached pages
  • Cuts to the front, back or personal details page
  • Damage or discolouration to any part of the passport
  • The chip or antenna showing through the end paper on the back cover for the new style e-passports
  • The chip has been identified as damaged after investigation

Simon Calder, travel correspondent for The Independent, said: “Damage to passports is a perennial problem – particularly for young adults who are required to provide official ID to get into venues.

“Airlines typically err on the side of caution: hey can be fines for allowing a passenger to fly with inadequate documentation.”

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