Denied Boarding: Is Your Passport Still Valid After Brexit?

Update: I got a refund from Easyjet via ADR – see my update below.

On Thursday 21 October 2021 I stood at the gate at Manchester Airport waiting to board the 15:45 Easyjet flight to Malaga, Spain. I was with my friend. We were going on a three night trip, coming back on Sunday 24. And we were running through a checklist of requirements for flying: passport, boarding passes, NHS Covid Pass, QR code for entering Spain. I had all of these documents on phone apps and with printed copies in my hand. At home I had a PRC test ready for day 2 of my return. We’d pre-booked the usual – airport car parking, apartment in Spain, day at the wonderful Hammam al Andalus. We’d done everything we should but we were still jittery travellers because these are jittery travel times. 

With the exception of a quick, last-minute jaunt to Greece the previous summer, my last flight had been stressful AF. It was March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic and I’d been repatriating back to the UK after months of long-term travel in Central America. KLM had cancelled my flight the night before and I’d barely managed to get a seat on the last flight leaving San Jose heading home. I had to fly west to LA to get back east to the UK. We were in mandatory lockdown when I landed at Heathrow. It was the most stressful (and expensive) flying experience of my life.

That stress was still haunting me as I stepped up to have my passport checked by the Easyjet crew. But in my gut I knew I was ok. I’d read the new covid rules back to front and sideways. I was expecting a quick check before following my friend down the gangway onto the flight.

Easyjet: “Your Passport has expired”

“I’m sorry. Your passport has expired,” Easyjet said.

That phrase would make most people’s blood run cold. Not me. I’m a travel writer. I can quote my passport number, issue and expiry dates without even opening my purple book. So, I knew my passport didn’t expire until 15 August 2022, over nine months away. “It hasn’t expired,” I told Easyjet with absolute confidence. 

“It has,” he replied, “because of the new Brexit rules.” That’s when my blood did run cold.

While the rest of the plane boarded, we were taken to one side and Easyjet explained that since Brexit my passport expiry date was no longer valid. According to Easyjet, the correct way to find out your new expiry date is to look at your issue date, add 10 years, then minus 3 month (because every country requires you have a minimum validity left on your passport before travel).

Taking Easyjet at its word, my passport had, indeed expired.

Issue date: 15 November 2011

Add 10 years: 15 November 2021

Minus 3 months: 15 August 2021. That was my new expiry date according to Easyjet. NOT 15 August 2022. It was 21 October 2021, my expiry date had long passed.

For this reason, I was not allowed to board the flight. Understandably, my friend didn’t board either. 

Except Easyjet got it wrong

Unless it’s happened to you, it’s hard to imagine the tsunami of emotions that come over you as you’re escorted back through security. I’d messed up, big time; at something that was part of my job. All that faffing and stressing over the Covid requirements was irrelevant because, somewhere in the middle of Brexit, I’d completely missed a major rule change, and in doing so, I’d screwed up the weekend trip for me and my friend. The time off work, her time away from her kids, the effort and energy and let’s not forget the hundreds of pounds we’d each spent that we wouldn’t get back (since no airline or insurance will reimburse an act of stupidity). 

I was beside myself with shock, disbelief, guilt, shame, frustration, anger (at myself) and then some anger at the B@stard Brexit Government. Why wasn’t this more clear? Why wasn’t there a bus driving round with ‘Your Passport Expiry Date is no longer valid’ slapped on the side. I recalled there had been a radio campaign saying you needed three months’ validity remaining on your passport post-Brexit but I had always worked with six, as other countries required; my expiry was nine months away; my passport was fine. Or so I thought.  

At the same time, I was desperately re-grouping and scrambling to make plans for how to have a staycation that could even remotely make up for the lack of 29 degree heat in Malaga. My friend gets 100 out of 10 stars for being the most understanding person ever. She told me not to worry. She told me it wasn’t my fault. She told me we’d make the best of it. And we decided we’d just put it behind us.

Except, pair of lawyers that we are (her still practising, me not), over the next couple of days, sandwiched in between fancy dinners and massages to make up for not away, we turned to Google and, guess what, as nice as the staff were about denying us boarding, Easyjet was wrong

My passport was still valid. And, like hundreds of others before me, I had wrongly been denied boarding due to misinterpretation of the post-Brexit rules. 

That’s when the fury really did set in. 

How did Easyjet get it so wrong?

With the benefit of a couple of days to calm down, I’m still furious. When I did practice law, I specialised in consumer protection so this is exactly the kind of injustice that makes my blood boil. How could such a big Airline could get it so wrong? And it’s not just Easyjet – other airlines have made the same mistake. The answer is, they’ve been relying on the UK Government guidelines and those guidelines are as clear as mud.  

The Gov.UK Passport Guidance

Having been denied boarding, I decided to check the rules so I could understand what they were post-Brexit. Like most people, I went to the UK Government website to get the official information. Below is a screenshot from the Gov.UK Passport Rules For Travel To Europe. This is the main consumer page for checking the passport validity rules. These rules are shockingly (negligently, illegally?) unclear.

A quick disclaimer – I’m not an expert in international law and I never was. I no longer practice law and I’m not giving legal advice. What I am doing here is sharing my understanding of the rules, to help point you in the right direction, since the official sources of advice are so confusing.

Also: this article is about to get very technical as I dig into the details of the rules. If you’re worried about your passport validity and you’re checking the rules, these next couple of sections are for you. Everyone else, you might want to skip down How Do I Check If My Passport Is Valid?

If you’ve read the above guidance and thought ‘what?’, you’re not alone (I’ve added the coloured highlighting). This page is confusing on multiple levels:  

Do you need 6 month or 3 months remaining? The first error is recommending you have 6 months left on your passport. Sure, this is great advice (like driving 26 in a 30 zone) but it’s not the legal requirement. The legal requirement is 3 months. And it is the European Union together with individual European countries that set these rule. Not the UK government. The above is just their guidance. Yes, having 6 months on your passport is better but if you’re at the gate and have 4.5 month left, you should not be refused boarding. Yet, this has happened to countless people because the airlines have been applying a 6 month requirement based on this Government advice. The government’s reply: they’re being abundantly cautious. That, my travel friends, is not ok. It’s also not legal (it’s called acting ultra vires i.e. outside their power). 

Why does the Government assume we’re all going backpacking for 3 months? The Government says that they recommends you have 6 months on your passport so that you can freely travel around Europe for up to 3 months and still have the required 3 months remaining on your passport when you come home. I’m all for a long trip but surely the vast majority of people travelling to Europe post-Brexit are taking weekend breaks and 2-week holidays. They’re not swanning off round Europe for the entire summer. To mention this anywhere other than in a footnote just adds to the confusion. Also: it’s not correct (I’ve put the correct answer below).

The 10 year rule – this is the rule I’ve highlighted in red. It’s the rule that is most likely to impact people post-Brexit. It’s the rule that Easyjet got wrong. And it’s the rule that should have been slapped on the side of a bus in big writing. It’s a rule I’ll cover in more detail below so you can fully understand what it means because the Governments summary of it is not nearly clear enough. Not least because it says any extra months on your passport ‘may not’ count. Excuse my indignation but there is no place for ‘may not’ in a legal requirement. ‘May not’ is what your mate down the pub says when she doesn’t know the answer. Legally the extra months count or they don’t count. If the Government isn’t confident enough in their own understanding of the rules to give us a definitive answer, how the flipperty-f@ck are the rest of us supposed to work them out? 

When do you start counting your 3 months remaining? According to the Government Guidance you count it ‘on the day you travel’…or is it ‘on the day after you leave’…the guidance unhelpfully says both. Worse, neither tells us whether this is travelling from the UK or from the EU. So, if you do go backpacking for 3 months, do you need to have 3 months from the day you leave the UK or from the day you leave the EU after your 3 months abroad? Because that will make a difference. Again, I answer this below

What about the Government passport checker? 

You’ll see that the guidance page includes a link to a passport checker. Unsurprisingly it’s is no better. I clicked on the link, input my issued and expiry dates and just got a similar (but not exactly the same) summary of the above rules (pictured above). They did, of course, recommend (but not require) that I renew my passport even though I did not NEED a new passport for this trip. It was valid for travel. To explain why my passport was valid for Malaga, we need to talk about the 10 year rule. 

The 10 year passport validity rule

Let’s look at that red section again. This rule makes more sense when you understand how passport validity used to work. 

Passports are typically issued for 10 year periods. However, until 2018, if you renewed your passport before the expiry date, any unexpired months would be rolled over onto your new passport. People renew early for all kinds of reasons – lost and stolen passports, passports that have been filled with stamps (in my case) and name changes like marriage or divorce. The result –  there are lots of people out there with passports that are valid for longer than 10 years because of these extra months. My passport had a 10 year and nine month validity period and that’s not uncommon.

Since Brexit, these extra months have become more important than most of us realise.  For people who have extra months on their passport, their passport ‘expiry date’ is no longer accurate when travelling to Europe.

What the holy…what…wait…is that true? 

Yes. The European rules and, to be fair, the Gov.UK rules, clearly state that in order to travel to Europe your passport can’t be more than 10 years old.

Using my passport as an example, my issue date was 15 November 2011 meaning my passport becomes 10 years old on 15 November 2021. I tried to board my flight on 21 October 2021. My passport was less than 10 years old. However, had I tried to travel a few weeks later, from 15 November 2021, I wouldn’t have been allowed, even though I still have 9 months validity left on my passport according to the expiry date of 15 August 2022. 

I don’t know anybody who looks at their passport expiry date and questions whether it’s right or might have changed. But it may not be right. Under the 10 year rule my passport is no longer valid for travel to Europe from 15 November 2021. 

See the problem? And it gets worse…

The 10 year and the 3 month rules together

This is what bit me on the backside at the gate. If you remember, Easyjet told me that the correct way to find out your ‘real’ expiry date post-Brexit, is to look at your issue date, add 10 years, then minus 3 month. Easyjet told me that my extra months (up to 15 August 2022) did not count towards the minimum 3 months I needed remaining on my passport.

If you’ve really been paying attention (well done, it is complicated), you’ll remember this a repetition of what the Gov.UK website says: “If you renew your passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to the expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum period needed.”

However, Easyjet have hardened that ‘may not’ to an absolute ‘cannot’. 

But here’s the thing – any extra months over 10 months CAN count towards the minimum period needed. Because the European rules say so, the European Commission have confirmed it, and Easyjet has admitted it. This is a very good summary, taken from a great article by Simon Calder in The Independent.

The Independent article goes on to say: “someone with a passport issued on 2 October 2011 that is valid to 2 April 2022 would be able to travel out to the EU any time up to 1 October 2021. They could stay for up to 90 days, until 30 December 2021.” This is far more flexible than the UK Government suggests, and The Independent has heard of multiple people being wrongly denied boarding despite complying with these requirements. 

Interestingly, I can’t find that Easyjet ‘updated policy and website wording’ which makes this clear. And, based on my experience of being denied boarding at Manchester Airport, the updated policy hasn’t been properly communicated to ground staff either. 

What are the new EU passport validity rules after Brexit?

This might leave you wondering – what the hell are the new rules if the UK Government and airlines can’t get it right? 

A wise lawyer once said to me, always go back to the law. Any interpretation or summary of it may be inaccurate or confusing. So, I went back to the law which is the Schengen Borders Code (European Regulation 2016/399). Those regulations are wonderfully and plainly clear (I’m trying not to dissolve into a Brexit rant).

The Regulations say that third country nationals i.e. UK citizens can enter European countries if they have a valid travel document (passport) that:

1) is valid for at least 3 months after the intended departure date from Europe;

2) has been issued within the previous 10 years (on the day you enter/arrive in Europe).

How do I check if my passport is valid?

Taking those very clear rules, here’s a handy checklist:

1) Your passport must not be more than 10 years old on the date that you arrive in Europe.

2) Your passport expiry date (the one printed in your passport) must have at least 3 months left on it from the date when you leave the EU (e.g. come home). 

3) This 3-month period can include any extra months that have been added on from a previous passport/which extend your passport beyond 10 years.

4) However, if you have had extra months added to your passport, your expiry date may no longer be accurate. For those passports you have to look at your issued date and add 10 years and 3 months (from the date you plan to leave Europe) to get your new expiry date for travel to Europe. In effect, this means most passports with more than 6 months added will have an invalid expiry date.

Let me know in the comments if you’d find it helpful for me to draw up a flow chart of these rules to help you check. 

Will the new Brexit Passport requirements impact me?

The new rules will impact a lot of people but they won’t impact everyone. And this only relates to travel to Europe. Who is at most risk of being denied boarding?

  • You’re travelling to Europe on the old purple passport (purple passports are still valid but may have validity issues). 
  • If your passport expiry date is longer than 10 years i.e. you had extra months added on, typically for passports issued before 2018 (still valid but check the expiry date). 
  • Your passport is more than 10 years old when you plan to travel, based on your issue date (in this case your passport is not valid).
  • Your passport has an expiry date that’s more than 10 years and 6 months after issue (in this case your expiry date is no longer correct). 

Note, the rules seem to be different for travelling to ROI. I have not looked into those rules and they are not covered in this article. 

What should you do next?

If you have time, apply for a new passport: I hate that my ultimate advice is: if you’re not sure and your passport is close to 10 years old, renew it. I say this because, as much as the law is the law, nobody in the history of ever has managed to convince airline ground staff at the gate that they are right and the airline is wrong. If, like me, you’re in great need of a relaxing trip, being turned away at the gate is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Applying for a new passport: I got home and made a panic application for a new passport (it’s my job – I need a valid passport). Be aware that the expedited passport application process has changed since Brexit and Covid and you will need to make a face to face appointment at your nearest passport office. There aren’t many offices and appointments book up fast. And, of course, the application is expensive. I’ve paid £187 (£10 more because I wanted extra pages). That’s more than twice the price of a standard go-slow application and still isn’t all that quick. Unless I was prepared to drive to Glasgow, my nearest passport office didn’t have an appointment available for 9 days. I’ve made the online application so I’ll get my passport back on the day of my appointment. For offline/paper applications you need to wait a further week, and you still need an appointment. If you want to go down the standard application route, note that the passport office has a 10-week estimated turn-around time at the time of writing. I suspect this will get worse as people venture back out and start to travel again. Lots of passports will have expired during the pandemic and the race will be on.

If you’re at the gate and you’re being refused boarding: there’s a chance you’re reading this because you’re at the gate and you’ve been refused boarding. It’s a horrible, horrible experience. Feel free to message me on social media if I can help or leave a comment below. Otherwise, show the ground staff this article written by the Independent newspaper (I accept my credibility isn’t as powerful as a huge newspaper that’s already covered this topic). Ask to speak to a manager and ask them to phone their manager all the way up to head office. You may not have any luck but politely keep insisting until the plane has taken off. If that doesn’t get you on board your flight, you’re in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim.

If you’ve wrongly been denied boarding

I am at a slight advantage because I know my rights but I did have to spend a lot of time researching them, and it doesn’t make the complaint process any easier, less time consuming, quicker or less stressful. Here’s my tips for dealing with the situation if you have been denied boarding.

Stay calm: yes, you’re rightly angry but ranting and shouting at the airline isn’t going to get you any further forward.

Know your rights: If your airline is a European Airline (Easyjet has its head office in Austria), you are covered by the Air Passenger Rights Regulations (261/2004). I find it almost hilarious that it is European consumer protection rules that are helping me when I’ve been denied boarding due to incorrect interpretation of the rules post Brexit. 

Check the airline’s website: A google search of your airline name plus ‘denied boarding terms and conditions’ should hopefully give you the page on the website where you can find out your rights (airlines are required to tell you). The Easyjet page is here.

Find the best way to contact the airline: Most usefully, the Easyjet terms give me a link to a dedicated form for passengers who have been denied boarding. This will hopefully save me having to go through the standard customer service contact form which has a 28 day response time and I’m guessing a low success rate since this is a very specific and technical claim.

Try the airline’s social media: yesterday I reached out to Easyjet via social media. I wanted a comment before I publish this article as well as the best contact details. I have yet to receive a reply, but if you can’t find the best contact route, try social media. I’d suggest a private message over a public rant but that’s up to you. 

Gather your receipts: in some ways, claiming against an airline is very similar to claiming on travel insurance. I have a whole article about how to make an insurance claim. Many of the tips in there will help. Especially…

Expect this to take time: my last insurance claim (for my pandemic repatriation) took over 50 emails, 18 months and involved me requesting a referral to the ombudsman. I was successful but it wasn’t quick or easy. Let your claim tick along in the background and get on with your life. 

Persist! What the airlines are doing is wrong. You’ve had a terrible experience when you should have had a nice trip and you deserve to be compensated for that (and the law agrees). Don’t let them get away with it, the [insert your favourite swearword here].

What’s next for me: today I’ll fill in the Easyjet form. Then I will put it on my to-do list as something to follow up, and I’ll try to forget it. In a week I’ll pick up my new passport. In just over two weeks I’ll try again. I have a trip booked to the USA and as stressed as I feel about it, I’m really hoping that one day this Easyjet experience will be just another travel tale I tell down the pub. 

Please share this article

I had intended to write this as a Facebook post to share with my readers but I think the issue is too important and not enough people understand it. I was wildly disappointed at not being able to travel to Malaga. It was a trip that got cancelled at the beginning of the pandemic so it was already 18 months overdue. It was the first time I’d left the country in over a year. More than 2 years for my friend. It was a trip back to the place I’d gone to grieve the death of my mum, and I was hoping it would be a happier trip. But it could have been far worse. I can’t help thinking of people who are travelling to funerals or to see sick family members one last time. Or people who have their entire family with them. Honeymooners. Babymooners. So many people taking so many trips for so many important reasons that have the potential to get cancelled at the gate. Please share this article. Please get your friends and family to check their passports. And if you do have the opportunity, please paint this message on the side of a bus. 

Updates on my claim against Easyjet

After writing this post, I’ve continued my claim against Easyjet. I’ll keep this section updated with my progress.

I took a scattergun approach at first. I filled in the contact form and sent messages on Facebook and Twitter to the Easyjet accounts. Months later and still no reply to the contact form. Only Twitter replied and told me to fill in the contact form. Great. In the meantime, I discovered the dedicated form tucked away in Easyjet’s Terms & Conditions – by digging myself, not by any useful response from the airline.

I filled in the ‘denied boarding’ claim form and quickly came to realise it was more geared towards over-filled flights. As this wasn’t my case, I half expected to have my claim denied. It was, just a few days later.

At least I had a human to email at that point, which I thought might be useful. It was not. I explained the situation but they once again rejected my claim.

(for some reason I have become Jeremie)

Easyjet is claiming the regulations don’t apply because they only apply when customers are bumped off a too-full flight. There is a section for ‘denied boarding against will’ which I think applies, but if not, it’s most likely a pure breach of contractual terms, to board me when I had valid documentation. I’m happy to have a wrangle with them on the legalities if necessary.

But first I thought I’d try the ADR route they suggested. I had a bit of a pause before applying for ADR (pure fatigue with the topic plus I went to the USA and Mexico – not denied boarding!). When I came back in early December, I started the ADR process. It was pretty quick to apply (just a few initial documents like my flight details and passport). Here’s what’s happened so far.

At first, my claim was accepted by ADR.

Then I got a curious notification that Easyjet was objecting to my right to ADR, which was interesting since they suggested it.

I didn’t hear anything within 7 days but then today, 7 Jan 22, I have another curious reply from Easyjet – that I haven’t submitted my passport. This is simply not true. Of course, they saw it at the boarding gate as well as when I complained to them directly. I’ve also uploaded it to the ADR system. But, still, this is an easy one to reply to – I will send them a copy of my passport. Side note: Easyjet’s reply is in hideously legalistic language: “did not provide the necessary information to identify the matter object of the claim…adduce the requested evidence.” Come on, dudes. It’s 2022, not 1522 and ADR not the Supreme Court. You just need to ask for (another) copy of my passport. No need to try and intimidate me with legalese.

Whatever will they try next? I’ll keep you posted.

Update: January 2022: I’m at the stage of ADR where Easyjet have submitted their ‘defence’. It’s a very legalistic document (I know, I’ve seen a few in my lawyer days). Without directly admitting fault, they have agreed to refund my flight price under their terms and conditions. That means they’ve admitted they got it wrong and incorrectly denied me boarding, which is a breach of their terms and conditions.

In a sense, Easyjet is getting ahead, paying me the flight back before my complaint has formally completed ADR. I don’t know if this is a tactic, them hoping it might satisfy me.

It’s an interesting approach because they have refused to pay for my associated costs e.g. hotel, car parking etc. They say that these are indirect losses (legal speak) and therefore aren’t covered. Their Terms and Conditions say the same.

I have dispute this with them on the basis that if they denied me boarding, the hotel costs etc are directly related to their wrongful act and they therefore should be refunded. I’ve made the same point about my friend’s costs, which were also refused on the basis she wasn’t denied boarding – she could have got on the flight (‘if I was a dick’, to quote my friend!).

Under consumer protection law, any terms in Easyjet’s terms and conditions must be reasonable and paying back just my flight price is not, in my view, reasonable. In fact, had I been denied boarding under the Denied Boarding regulations, Easyject would have been responsible for my additional costs.

I’ve made these points to ADR. I do expect Easyjet to fight this quite fiercely as it could spell a huge wave of increased costs for them if their terms excluding hotel costs are considered unfair. But I will pursue it.

What next? Easyjet’s defence and my arguments have now gone to the ADR panel for consideration. They will then issue a decision. I’ll keep you posted.

Update February 2022 at the end of Feb I got a notification from ADR that they now have all the evidence from me and Easyjet. It will now go to adjudication which can take a whopping 90 days from today. I will await the outcome and report back when I receive it some time around the end of May/June 2022.

Update April 2022: I still haven’t heard back from ADR and don’t expect to for another couple of months but the comments keep rolling in from people who have had similar issues. Instead of trying to keep on top of the comments and replying to each of you, I’m trying to reach out to some solicitors’ firms who deal with claims against airlines on a no-win, no-fee basis. This seems like a new area of claims but it’s impacting a lot of people so I’m hoping someone will be interested and have the time, skills and team/resources to take this on for us all. I’ll let you know if I get any positive responses.

Update August 2022: sorry I’ve been silent. I’ve been pretty unwell – I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia so a lot of my work has been on hold as I’ve had too much pain and chronic fatigue to do anything. In the meantime, I got the ADR back and they denied my claim. The ruling makes no sense – they say they didn’t have to rule on the issue of my passport validity which I don’t understand since that was literally the beginning, middle and end of my claim. I need to read the ruling more closely to try and understand their reasoning (when I don’t have that wonderful affliction called ‘fibrofog’). When I find some energy, I’ll upload the ruling so you can see for yourself. I don’t plan to leave it at that. Although there is no appeal of ADR, I plan to go back to Easyjet, who did accept that they denied me boarding. My issue right now it time and energy with my illness. But, I consider this a lost battle, not the war. To steal from Douglas Adams, I’m not retreating, I’m advancing in another direction. Illness sucks. It sucks even more when you’re trying to have a battle with a corporate giant that abuses its customers.

One of our readers got a full refund from Easyjet – check out the comments below. I’ll certainly be going back to Easyjet to have another go.

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64 thoughts on “Denied Boarding: Is Your Passport Still Valid After Brexit?”

  1. 17th Sept 2022 denied boarding at gate. Got through check in. Passport issued Sept 2012. Expiry June 2023. I am absolutely heartbroken. Ryan air again. Can’t get in touch with my holiday provider (Love Holidays). You can only speak to a bot! Any advice really welcome

  2. Wish I had read this article a few weeks ago but, as the article states, I’m only reading it after a google search following being denied boarding a flight to Rhodes with my husband today. My passport was issued 13 July 2012 but doesn’t expire until 13 April 2023 so thought it would be fine. Apparently not, as a solicitor I am embarrassed to admit that I did. It know there was a new regulation, which would affect travel to EU countries. Convinced my husband to board without me as his parents are already in Rhodes. Had to make the difficult decision this week that my father needs residential care following a rapid deterioration of his dementia. Really needed this holiday and wonder why this was not highlighted by the airline when booking my flights as the passport details were entered. Now booked a passport renewal appointment in 3 days but no available direct flights to join my husband and his parents even for a few days. Absolutely devastated after a very difficult few weeks.

  3. Great insight into a mess Jo.

    I’ve just joined the club, it appears i’m not the only one to have fallen at the 15th obstacle, wasted hard earned £2750.
    Why is this system made so complicated, clear precise information is not available, contact with governing agencies is impossible……… the questions go on.
    I find it so difficult to understand like many i suspect to believe a relaxing holiday experience is possible, every step of the way appears fraught with a “what if ?” …..Rules, regulations, etc make everything about travelling negative it is supposed to be a positive!!!
    Apologies for the philosophical comments …….

  4. Same position with Ryanair denied from Stansted to EU on 30 April 2022.
    1. Passport is less than 10 yrs old on the day of departure (Checked issue date)
    2. Passport has more than 3 months left to run on the day of return (Checked expiry date).
    My passport, like many others, did meet these two very important conditions set by the European Commission and the advice of the UK Government. But Ryanair has implemented a rule wrongly connecting both issue date and expiry date to determine a passport’s validity. The European Commission repeatedly states these two conditions are not connected. It is well publicised in the media that Jet2 and Easyjet have admitted mistakes and have correctly changed their stance over this ruling. Ryanair is the last EU carrier to correct their policy. My point along with many others is it’s totally the airlines fault for wrongly and unlawfully turning passengers away when in fact it is the airline who has implemented a policy not aligned with the entry rules of the EU nor the advice of the UK Government. Similar to Jo the author, I’ve gone through all the procedures for compensation and reimbursement of flights. I’ve
    complained directly to Ryanair, where I must allow 90 days for the airline to respond. After some scripted and robotic responses to fob me off – Ryanair says I was in the wrong but on strong grounds I know my documents like many others was legally enough to travel to EU when it is the airline who is not compliant with European travel regulations. Raised a case via independent ADR in which Ryanair did not meet the deadline to respond. Eventually airline versus myself have both submitted evidence to ADR and now we must wait another 90 days for an independent decision. Jo mentioned ADR eventually sided with the airline so I feel my case will fall to a similar fate in 90 days time. Should this happen I’m determined to go via a ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor who specialises and has a successful track record in airline compensation cases. Has anyone had any success getting full compensation back from Ryanair, EasyJet from whatever means?

    • Hiya,
      I had the same issue with Easyjet back in April. They initially denied my claim so I went through ADR. Through that Easyjet initially offered £220 compensation but I denied that and asked for a full refund of all costs (Flight/hotel & compensation). I’ve just got the verdict back from ADR after 90 days and it states that Easyjet need to refund my flight costs and pay the £220 compensation. This just about covers my flight and hotel costs so better than nothing. Hopefully yours goes the same way.

    • I am well past the 90 days ADR advised I wait for their verdict for my case versus Ryanair. I messaged ADR and they are aware they are late which is just disappointing. Im also not allowed to send chasing emails as ADRs online portal blocks my messages. Will await further news.

    • My 90 days of waiting for ADR’s verdict on my case has passed.

      Delays Due to High Volume.

      Dear Passenger

      Please be advised that due to the high volume of claims that we are currently handling, there may be some delay in us issuing the Final Determination on your claim.

      Please be assured that we are working hard to clear any backlog and we will issue a decision as soon as we can. You will be notified via the Portal once the decision has been uploaded.

      Thank you for your patience in the meantime.

      Best regards


      • I finally got the decision from ADR today and I won versus Ryanair for being wrongly denied boarding.

        ADR determine that the Airline pay the Passenger:
        • compensation under UK261 London to Alicante on 30 April 2022.
        • receipt for outbound flight and checked baggage on alternative flight
        • receipt for food and drink
        • receipt for accommodation at the airport.
        Total: £532.88
        (unfortunately my partners flight was not covered because Ryanair recognized her newer UK passport to be valid and she could have boarded Ryanair)

        To summarize this case, the Claimant (ME/I) was wrongly denied boarding based on unreasonable grounds by the Defendant (RYANAIR D.A.C.) who is not compliant with European Commission travel regulations. The Defendant wrongly implemented a travel rule connecting issue and expiry date to determine a document’s validity which is not recognised by the United Kingdom Government, nor does this align with the European Commission entry laws on 30 April 2022.

        Good luck to everyone here and please keep fighting as what Ryanair have done is wrong!

  5. I was in similar position. Passport 2 months to its 10th birthday issue date, 8 months to expiry date. Advised by several travel agents, airline customer service, ABTA and ATOL that my passport was not valid for travel to the EU. Stressed to the hilt, I took Simon Calder’s word and travelled. The airport staff/airlines said its close but fine. On returning to the UK, I tested Stanstead’s knowledge again, with staff saying I would be fine to travel out 1 day before the passports 10th birthday.
    Except for the airport workers and the very top managers, the travel industry is in chaos, giving out wrong information. (Post 12th May 2022 when the Foreign Office corrected their previous wrong advice)
    Shame on you travel agents, airline customer services, ABTA, ATOL and Foreign Office . You do not know what you are doing.

  6. I had the exact same thing happen to me this morning. My experience resorted in the devastating choice to convince my husband to still board the flight with our 2 small children who are 2 and 7 years and go to Spain.
    I sobbed my heart out when they had gone and have spent 9 hours trying to get an emergency appointment for a passport with zero luck. I’m utterly 💔

    My issue date is
    10th March 2012

    Expiry date Dec 2022

    With this I thought I have 3 months left when we return so, it’ll be fine.
    However, this isn’t the case. Is there anything I can do?

    Thank you so much
    A devastated and heart broken mum

  7. Thanks for this. So too be clear, my wife just got refused entry into a flight to Greece. Her issue date was June 25th 2012. Expiry March 25th 2023.

    Am I right in thinking she should of been allowed to go based on 10 years plus 3 months?

  8. This is currently happening to me.
    I have a Tui flight and cruise booked for 17th June, returning on 24th June to Greece and Adriatic.
    My passport issue date is 30 July 2012 and expiry date is 30 January 2023.
    Tui contacted me on 06 June 2022 to say that my passport was not valid for travel.
    My understanding of all the advised websites is that it is valid; however Tui insist that I cannot fly as my passport is not valid.
    I have tried for three days to get a new passport, but all the only available dates are for after my planned return.
    Tui won’t refund me or allow me to change dates, so we will loose £3500.

  9. Your situation is almost identical to my situation – passport issue and expiry, travel date, the fact prior to Covid I was a regular traveller. Utter confusion. I’m now writing my letter for arbitration (been through TUI direct and ABTA phase 1). Did you use all the wording in your article or did you simply state the EU regs and that EasyJet had decided to mandate that extra months would NOT count and this was not a legal condition. It would really give me confidence that I’m not going to lose another £218 (£108 arbitration fee plus payment if I lose of TUI’s £108!) even though I am sure I should get the full holiday cost (package unlike yours) plus prevent from travel compensation.

  10. Hi, I’ve been following this closely as I am going through the same process. I see the article now says

    “Update: I got a refund from Easyjet via ADR – see my update below.”

    But I can’t see that update anywhere! Has the update worked? Last update I can see is form April saying you still haven’t heard back from ADR.

  11. This has happened to me. I was denied boarding by EasyJet from Bristol to Paphos in October 2021. My issue date on my passport was Nov 2011 and my expiry was Jun 2022. Despite me having great advice and help from Simon Calder (the lovely, wonderful travel expert) EasyJet are STILL stating that my passport was not valid and they are in the right.
    After 6 months I now have a date for a telephone hearing on 30th June between a judge, EasyJet and myself.

  12. Fab article – I am due to fly to Cyprus on BA next week 12th May 2022, returning 19th May. My passport was issued on 15th August 2012, so will be 10 years old on 15th August 2022 -I am in the less than 10 years old – tick. It expires on 15th May 2023. So, I will be inside the 10 years old rule (minus 3 months) when departing to Cyprus, as that would be 15th May, but not when retuning home – yikes ! I went to Heathrow T5 today (as I live 30mins away) and the BA check-in team told me they are only checking expiry dates on passports, not the 10 year rule at all. The check-in person then phoned an office to check and they confirmed that I should be ok to travel.

    The Cyprus Embassy website send you to the .gov website, so running in circles there ! too late to get a new passport as premium service is offline due to high demand !

    I will let you know if I actually get on the plane next week and if I do, are let into Cyprus (who are in the EU, but not in Schengen).

  13. Hi, an interesting read, what a nightmare you faced… I am facing the same issue and going away Friday 6th May. European commission has advised airlines to change there policy. As far as the information i have found out, easy jet have changed there policy. Not sure if Ryan Air who I’m actually flying with are now accepting them. But online chatbot looked at my passport picture and agreed it was fine, so hoping I’ll be ok. However, I can always get an easy jet flight and then claim a refund. So it looks like you’ll be in luck with your claim, and rightly so. I have no option but to turn up at the airport as there are no appointments anyway! Its a joke.

  14. This happened to us yesterday at Bournemouth airport . My husband and I were due to fly to Zakynthos. We got through check in and were just boarding when I was refused entry . My passport was issued 5 may 2012 and has an expiry date of 23 February 2023 so I thought I had 9 months left on it ! We had booked the whole holiday through TUI so I’m just about to start my fight with them today. We are absolutely devastated. Where do I start please?

  15. Hi
    I was denied boarding today at Bournemouth airport (2 may 2022) . My passport states it’s valid from 5 may 2012 and expires February 2023 so I thought I had plenty of time left . I booked through TUI. We even got through check in but I was denied entry just before we boarded. It felt like a nightmare and I still have no idea if I can appeal this or make a claim of any kind ?

  16. Hi jo,

    I am due to fly to Spain on Friday 29th May 2022, and return on Monday 2nd May 2022 with Ryanair.

    My passport was issued on 29th May 2012 and has an expiry date of 28th February 2023. Using the article and evidence you have given I understand I should be okay to travel.

    Please could you help me understand if I am interpreting the information correctly and that I will be valid to travel?

    Lee Micklethwaite

  17. This happened to us too at Gatwick Airport on the 10th of March by Ryanair. My passport had a start date of 13th April 2012 and expiry date of 13 August 2022. I tried to fight it but had to give up in the end. My issue was the flight was to Marakesh which is in Morrocco and not even in Europe. Have tried to raise a complaint with Ryanair but all I got back was they do not understand my complaint.

  18. In a different position of my own stupid doing.
    We’re flying out on Sunday from the UK 24 April 2022 for 5 nights to Italy with Jet2 returning on the 29 April 2022.
    My passport issue date is 21 Jun 2012. Expiry is 21 Jul 2022. So I take it that i’m out my 8 days or if I go by the issue date quite a bit more than that! I’m sure that when we were in the EU we could trave right upto the expiry date.

    I can’t get any appointments at a passport office before I fly. I think ive lost the flight and the holiday but do I take a chance and still try and board or do I not?
    Totally gutted and feel sick to my stomach that I’ve made such a stupid mistake.

  19. I was denied boarding with Ryanair in Stansted yesterday for our first family holiday together 🙁 Had to let my boys go without me and keep a brave face on. The irony is I phoned the passport office to check and they even confirmed that so long as I had 10 years on my passport at point of entry to Spain AND 3 months left before expiry then I was good to go!

    Ryanair essentially took the issue date to calculate expiry and said I now have an expired passport. Issue date 14 May 2012/ Expiry date 23 Feb 2023

    I slept on it and have now booked an alternative flight with Jet2 for tomorrow as I understand (according to various Independent articles) that they are interpreting the rules more in line with these conditions being independent.

    I am not sure whether I will be denied boarding on that flight also, but I will update here to let you know the outcome.

    Either way I will need to research how to make the denied boarding claim with Ryanair.

    Will keep an eye here for updates from your claim. Thanks for posting this.

  20. This happened to us at Bournemouth Airport on 15th April 2022.

    My wife’s passport was issued on 29th May 2012 and has an expiry date of 28th February 2023. We worked on the basis that the expiry date is the key date and we had plenty of time left on her passport.

    My wife and I and our 3 children were turned away at the gate and denied our holiday.

    I’m still trying to work out whether we were correctly denied! All seems desperately unclear to me and I don’t really know where to go in terms of being compensated for our £3k holiday.

    I’ll start with the routes you mention in your article. We were travelling with Ryanair.

    • We had identical at Bournemouth Airport on the next day 16th April 2022, I was denied boarding by ryanair to majorca. My passport was issued 15th July 2012 with expiry of 15th April 2023, I my husband and 2 children were escorted out in tears. £2500 holiday gone, we are also trying to pursue a claim. Any further advice gratefully received.


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