A teenager in the UK is counting the cost of a night out after it led to the cancellation of a family holiday.
Jake Burton, 19, was due to fly with his parents to Benidorm in Spain but didn’t make it onto the Ryanair plane because of a tiny tear in his passport.
The 1cm rip was on the page next to the main photo information and was likely caused after it was used for ID on a night out.
Mum Rachael said the blunder meant they lost £1000 (NZ$2000) on flights.
She told The Sun that while the parents could travel, the teen could not: “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.”
She said that the youngster had taken it hard: “He thinks it’s his fault. He’s so sorry. He hasn’t come out of his bedroom. I think this has put him off flying for life.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair told The Sun that he had been “correctly refused travel from East Midlands to Alicante as his passport was damaged and therefore not valid for travel”.
Here in New Zealand, Te Tari Taiwhenua (Department of Internal Affairs) issues Kiwi passports and recently told Stuff Travel there is “no set standard” for damage.
“Entry requirements to any country are at the discretion of that country’s border authority,” a department spokesperson said. “We cannot predict how much damage or wear and tear would be acceptable to a border official on any given day.
“The passports contain a chip, which includes security information, along with a machine-readable zone, and a photo. Damage to your passport may affect your photo and the performance of the security chip that contains your personal information. If a passport is water damaged, ripped, or in bad condition, the border or airline official checking the passport might refuse entry.”
In many cases, travellers may not even get that far.
“Much of the checking is done by airline check-in staff, and airlines can get fined if they board a passenger without a valid passport, and their staff can be risk averse.”
In 2022, Stuff Travel reported on a Christchurch couple whose dog literally ate a passport just hours before they were due to travel.
Also that year, an Australian woman was denied boarding on her flight from Sydney to Auckland after a “tiny nibble and tears” from her toddler were discovered at the airport.
In 2020 a well-travelled businesswoman was stopped by Australian Border Force officials who spotted a small tear in her passport. Luckily, an airline representative came to the rescue and waved her through.