Traveler misses $1,300 vacation due to obscure passport rule

She couldn’t wing it.

A British woman was left in tears at a London-area airport when authorities told her she couldn’t take off on her $1,300 all-inclusive vacation to Mallorca, Spain, due to a strict and little-known European Union passport rule, SWNS reports.

Before Brexit began in 2020, British passport holders could travel anywhere in the EU before their passport expired.

Now, Brits wanting to visit Europe need a passport issued within the last 10 years.

This was unfortunate news to Kirsty Hawes, 28, whose passport was issued on Aug. 15, 2013 — 10 years and one day before she was set to jet on Aug. 16, 2023.

“They took our passports and said you can’t fly,” Hawes told SWNS, which reported her passport didn’t expire for seven more months. “I thought it was a joke.”

Hawes was “distraught,” as she had been looking forward to her vacation, which her best friend booked for the both of them in April.

The friend allegedly included their passport numbers and expiration dates in the booking form — but not the issue dates.

Photo of a woman smiling.
Kirsty Hawes was “distraught” when she wasn’t able to travel on vacation due to a passport rule.
Courtesy Kirsty Hawes / SWNS

Hawes said she attempted to get an emergency passport to rectify the situation, but the earliest appointments weren’t for two weeks.

She said she had “no idea” about this rule prior to traveling.

She claims her tourism company, TUI, would not provide a refund, as the “terms of conditions … was right at the bottom of the email, not easy to find and in small print.”

Photo of a packed luggage.
Hawes said she was left “crying” in the airport.
Courtesy Kirsty Hawes / SWNS

SWNS reached out to TUI for comment.

“I was panicking and burst into tears,” Hawes told SWNS. “This was the one thing I was looking forward to all year.”

It was supposed to be a celebration for a promotion she got at work, following a challenging few months that included a breakup and deaths of several friends and family members.

Hawes said she can’t afford another holiday and is warning others about reading the fine print before going on vacation.

“Holiday companies need to add an issue date of passport onto their websites when booking and checking in so this will raise the issue, so people are not left stranded at the airport, crying their eyes out,” Hawes said.

US travelers attempting to visit European Union countries, meanwhile, will soon face new rules.

Starting in 2024, US visitors will have to get pre-approved via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System for 30 European countries, including Greece, France and Spain.

The application costs about $8.

Travel documentation and other details, such as education level and criminal history, are required.

The authorization is valid for up to three years, or until the visitor’s passport expires.