Family frogmarched out of airport after easyJet blocks boarding over passport rule

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Nicci Lou has called for airlines like easyJet to warn people ahead of time if their passport is not going to be accepted under rules brought in following Brexit after the incident at Gatwick Airport

Nicci Lou and her kids were escorted out of Gatwick Airport
Nicci Lou and her kids were escorted out of Gatwick Airport

A mum and her two kids were marched out of the airport after they were blocked from an easyJet flight – despite all their paperwork being within date.

Nicci Lou’s children had to leave Gatwick Airport thoroughly miserable and the way they came in following the passport rejection.

They had arrived several hours earlier incredibly excited about jetting off to Corfu for three and a half weeks on their first post-pandemic holiday – in part planned to celebrate Nicci’s divorce.

The single mum was therefore heartbroken when easyJet boarding gate staff told her she couldn’t come onboard as her passport was too near expiring, despite still being in date.

Under post-Brexit rules countries including Portugal require passports to be valid for at least three (sometimes six) months after your dates of travel.







Nicci says she realized she made a mistake with her passport
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NicciLou)

Nicci and her two crying children were told to go to the information desk for help, only to be escorted out of the building by two members of security.

“I made a mistake and I didn’t know about the three months from the date you get back rule,” the 43-year-old told the Mirror.

“The problem I have is I had got as far as the gates, almost to the airplane, before they said no.

“Then they told us to go to the information desk. They were trying to get rid of me and my crying children. The information desk said they were nothing to do with the flight and there was no supervisor.

“They escorted us out of the airport, one in front, one behind.

“I had to walk through passport control as my children raised. Then we were left outside by the gates of the airport.

“I shouldn’t have got to the doors of the plane to be frogmarched out like an illegal immigrant.”

In the days running up to the April 26 departure, Nicci said her kids were both scared and excited about what would’ve been their first trip in living memory.

Determined that “everything would be perfect”, she downloaded all the right apps and scanned their passports five days ahead of time.

Even a tragic incident on the train line near their Worthing home didn’t delay the family too much, as they’d left six hours before their flight took off.

Once through the security gates at Gatwick Nicci and her children were in “relax mode”.







Nicci had been looking forward to the post-divorce holiday
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Image:

NicciLou)







Her kids left the airport in tears
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Image:

NicciLou)

“We had some lunch and chilled out looking at the airplanes as they’d never seen one up close before,” she said.

All was well until they approached the boarding desk only to be told they weren’t going to be allowed on.

As much as she’s kicking herself for making a mistake with her passport, Nicci is flabbergasted that easyJet didn’t warn her of the issue ahead of time.

“All I want the airline to tell me is If their technology, as a digital airline, does not allow their app to check the details of the passport are they going to add a pop-up?” she asked.

“Something that will allow people to know that the boarding pass does not mean they have access to the aircraft.

“Something that preferably shares the ‘average’ passport requirements. So other people, other young children, don’t go through this.”

Nicci has been left very disappointed with the customer care she’s received from easyJet since the incident, and remains in the dark as to whether she can reschedule her missed flights when her emergency passport arrives.

“Do I have to get a whole new flight at exuberant cost even after the worst day of my kids’ lives?” she continued.

“It was not their fault. Are they not passengers in their own right? But still, I wait for the answers. And the mum’s guilt and embarrassment don’t help. But we all make mistakes.”

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “easyJet follows current government validity rules on passport, as set out by governments where we operate.

“As Ms Yarnold’s passport was unfortunately not valid for her flight, we were unable to allow her to travel on this occasion. We remind customers during booking and before they travel via email to ensure they are aware of the travel requirements for the destination they are flying to and it is customers’ responsibility to ensure they have the correct valid documentation for travel.”

Nicci and her children are far from the only people whose holidays have been ruined because of passport rules.

A teenager was denied boarding by Ryanair despite having five months left on his passport and complying with complex new Brexit travel rules.

A family of three was also left £3,000 out of pocket when they were barred from flights – despite their passports having almost a year left before they expire.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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