Ryanair CEO demands UK adopts European system
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Caroline Smith is one of many passengers who have been unable to board a plane because of post-Brexit changes affecting passport validity. Caroline and her husband Dan had booked a flight from Stanstead Airport to Ibiza with Ryanair, but the airline company refused to let her take the flight.
Caroline and Dan were celebrating their anniversary, as well as Dan’s 40th birthday on April 28 by heading to Ibiza.
Before arriving at the airport, they had checked in online, and no issues were flagged.
But when she got to the boarding gate, Ryanair staff would not allow her to board the flight.
Caroline’s passport expires in March 2023, but the issue date was June 2012 and so passes its ten-year deadline in fewer than the required three months.
This was a problem for Ryanair.
Caroline explained the situation: “It was a nightmare.
“For me, it was just something that I was completely oblivious to and I think it’s really important that people are aware of it because I think it’s going to catch a lot of people out.
“Obviously we’re starting to go into the summer season, people starting to travel a lot more and what Ryanair is saying is that due to Brexit they’ve made a change.
“So because of that when I went into check-in my luggage, because I’d already checked in online and no one at that point had flagged it at that point.”
She continued: “My passport details say sometime in March 2023, and before it was always like you need three months to go into Spain from your expiry date so in my view I wouldn’t of thought in a million years that my passport wouldn’t be valid.
“But since Brexit what they’re saying is they take it from the issue date.
“Now potentially if your passport has been renewed early which in my case it was because at the time 10 years ago we got married and I’d changed my passport because I wanted to change my name to Smith.
“So they then add on a couple of months to the passport because you’ve renewed it early.
“Because of that, that then means that some airlines, like Ryanair, are taking it from the issue date.
“The issue date for my passport is in June and they’re saying you need three months from that date,” she told The Daily Mail.
British passports were previously valid up to and including their expiry date.
Following Brexit, government guidance says passengers planning to travel to any EU country except Ireland must now meet two requirements.
Non-EU nationals visiting Europe must have a passport valid for at least three months after the date they intend to leave the EU country.
The passport must also have been issued within ten years of that same date.
Some countries are taking the date ten years on from when a passport was issued as its expiry date, even though some British passports will be valid for more than ten years if the passport has been renewed early.
Current Government travel guidance adds: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022.
“Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.”
Travellers are advised to “check both the issue date and the expiry date” on their passports.
“If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
“This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.”
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