Couple miss dream TUI cruise to celebrate cancer recovery after passport mistake

A duo of pensioners lost out on their dream holiday recently after a devastating passport mistake.

Jim Baker, 65, and wife Janet, 75, had cashed in part of their pension and shelled out from their life savings to pay for the trip.

However the couple, who live in Kent, had to watch their hopes of a relaxing cruise drift away after one of their passports was declared invalid at the port in Southampton.

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Jim and Janet had booked to go on a cruise around Norway as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience due to failing health and financial concerns, reports KentLive.

The couple’s son-in-law John Crook, 37, who was dealing with the matter, claims the issue was with Janet’s passport – which he claims had between three and six months validity left on it.

Prior to Brexit this would have been enough for the holiday, but many EU countries now require more than three months left on your passport when you plan to return to the UK.

John criticised TUI and claims they should have checked the passport issue.

Janet and Jim had wanted to see the Northern Lights as a celebration of Janet’s all-clear from cancer in the early months of 2022.

However, she has since been diagnosed with dementia which meant the holiday was desperately important to them.

John said: “When we got told that there were no longer signs of cancer they just felt like it would be a good time to get away and take a breath, celebrate the news.

“But then, before they’d booked anything, we got the diagnosis for mum’s dementia which was a massive blow.”

Now, he claims Janet is “fearful about what’s to come” and so “they decided to make it a trip mum could really treasure and make some happy memories."

He added: “There’s never going to be a better time.”

As the pair were nervous about booking things themselves they chose to go to the TUI branch in Tunbridge Wells.

John noted: “Not only did they do it through TUI but they actually went in and did it in person in the Tunbridge Wells branch to have that peace of mind and reassurance.”

They were asked to come into the branch with their passports for checks and to be photocopied and assumed this meant they would be notified of any issues.

The pair were excitedly counting down the days until their holiday and booked a taxi to Southampton.

But, they were left “devastated and confused” when they were turned away at the port.

“She apparently just kept asking Jim what was happening,” John said. “Jim was just so embarrassed as he knows admin just isn’t his strong point, hence them using TUI to do everything. He felt like he’d let Mum down.”

While the family noted that TUI had been “very helpful” in branch they claimed they were “beyond difficult” to reach after the missed holiday.

The duo do not want a refund or compensation they claim, but “just want to go on this cruise before mum’s health deteriorates further”.

A spokesperson for TUI said: “We completely understand Mr and Mrs Baker’s disappointment in being unable to travel on their cruise as planned.

“We always follow the FCDO’s guidance, which outlines that a customer may not be allowed entry into some countries if there is less than six months left on their passport.

“Our systems don’t have any passport data recorded for Mr and Mrs Baker and we have no evidence to show they went to the store to provide this.

“Unfortunately, as their passports didn’t meet the criteria, our general terms and conditions apply.”

They added: “We encourage customers to check the TUI and FCDO websites for the latest passport guidance before travelling.”

Always check the current travel advice before booking a holiday – this can be found on the website.


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