UK & World

Airlines and travel agencies face millions of bills after applying wrong passport rules

Thousands of travelers are set to charge millions of pounds from airlines and vacation companies after being mistakenly denied a trip to Europe.

Since Britain left the European Union Independent The government has repeatedly warned that the post is being misrepresented.Brexit Passport validity rules.

Two European Union regulations regarding “third country citizens” apply.. Travelers are told: “You need a passport that is valid for at least three months from the date you plan to leave the EU member state you are visiting. [and] Published within the last 10 years. “

The two conditions are independent of each other. This means that you can use your passport issued on January 1, 2022 to go to Europe on January 1, 2022, expire on July 1, 2022, and stay there until March 31, 2022. I can.

However, the UK government claims that this is not the case, and many travel agencies follow their online advice.

Holiday companies that have refused to travel to passengers with valid documents due to a misinterpretation of EU law by the government are currently facing a barrage of compensation claims.

Britain’s largest holiday company, TuiHas changed its policy to comply with European law, but only after accidentally refusing to board a significant number of passengers.

Vanessa Pritchard-Wilkes is one of many vacationers who mistakenly refused to board this summer. Last Friday at Birmingham Airport, she was taken away from a flight to Tenerife by Tui staff, even though her passport met EU validity rules.

She and her husband, Chris, spent more than £ 1,600 on holidays. The couple checked in at Birmingham Airport without any problems, but were told at the departure gate that she could not travel because her passport was invalid for her trip to Spain.

Ms. Pritchard Wilkes, who was issued within 10 years and had a passport valid for more than 3 months from the date of her return, was eligible to fly to any country in the European Union.

But she says the staff said that if she had been allowed to fly, “Tui would have been fined and we would have stayed at the airport and returned home on the next available flight.” ..

Ms. Pritchard Wilkes, a housing expert at Sutton Coldfield, spent £ 177 to get a new passport, which was not legally required. Finally, four days later, I went on vacation in the Canary Islands.

A Tui spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that the policy has changed based on the new information provided. You will not be denied boarding because your passport must meet both conditions.”

While the UK was a member of the European Union, the British passport was valid until its expiration date. Many passports have been issued for more than 10 years and will add up to 9 months of free credit if they have an unused validity period at the time of renewal.

This practice is currently over, but millions of passports issued before September 2018 are still in circulation and are becoming more effective.

The British government claims that: “The three months required to leave the country must be within 10 years from the date of issue of the passport.”

In this calculation, a British passport issued more than 9 years ago could not be used for a trip to the EU.

But the European Commission Independent The government’s interpretation is wrong. Your passport must meet two conditions.

For example, a person with a passport issued on October 2, 2011 and valid until April 2, 2022 can travel to the EU at any time until October 1, 2021. You can stay for up to 90 days until December 30, 2021.

Independent I have heard that passports reject multiple cases of travelers who meet these conditions.

Affected are those who have been issued a passport for less than 10 years and have a validity period of at least 3 months on their expected return date from the EU.

Passengers who are mistakenly denied boarding can now seek compensation from airlines and vacation companies. Billings can add up to millions of pounds when a travel agency’s finances are under severe pressure.

under Air passenger rights By regulation, properly documented passengers who are denied boarding a flight to Europe are entitled to either £ 220 or £ 350 in cash and a full fare refund, depending on the distance.

However, many family holidays have been ruined by misuse of passport rules, so some claims can reach thousands of pounds.

After that Independent Providing evidence from Brussels that the government’s interpretation was wrong, the Interior Ministry refused to correct it.

A government spokesperson said: “Because the UK has left the EU, the rules for traveling to Europe have changed. You must follow the rules for passport validity set out in the Schengen Agreement.

“This code clarifies whether the rules for passports issued within the last 10 years and the rules for passports valid for at least three months from the date of departure from the EU member state visited are interdependent. I will not.

“To avoid the possibility of citizens facing difficulties at certain borders in complying with these rules, our advice is that the extra months added to the 10-year passport may not be counted. It keeps showing that there is.

“We do not apologize for taking a risk-averse approach to prevent citizens from facing problems at the border.”

Sunday: Chris and Vanessa Pritchard-Wilkes finally arrive in Tenerife after a four-day delay

(Vanessa Pritchard-Wilkes)

Pritchard-Wilkes said:

“I’m lucky that Tui offered us another holiday, but I’m not sure if it’s the same for others who are probably financially distressed.”

EasyJet, the UK’s largest low-cost carrier, keeps away from the wrong version of the government.

A spokeswoman said: “We have followed the advice of the UK Government regarding the validity of our passports and have not changed based on new information from the European Commission, but the policy and website wording have been updated and clarified. The customer’s expiration date has been extended by more than 10 years, which can be counted as part of the three months required from a deliberate departure from the EU. “

The government itself may face charges from travelers who have paid hundreds of pounds to renew their passports in a hurry unnecessarily, as gov.uk’s online advice falsely claimed that their passports were too old. In addition, companies that accidentally alienate passengers after following inaccurate official advice may seek compensation from the government.

Independent We contact the major airlines and tour operators used by UK travelers to prevent further travelers from turning their backs unreasonably.

In addition, they were asked what steps they could take proactively to compensate customers who lost flights or holidays as a result of the wrong rules being applied.

Airlines and travel agencies face millions of bills after applying wrong passport rules

Source link Airlines and travel agencies face millions of bills after applying wrong passport rules

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