EasyJet has confirmed that it will compensate passengers who were turned away from flights because ground staff mistakenly thought their passports weren’t valid for travel.
The airline said that it is aware of ‘a handful’ of individuals who were unfairly denied boarding, but there might be others who don’t yet realise they’re entitled to compensation.
Until yesterday, easyJet had been denying boarding to passengers whose passports would be more than 10 years old when they returned from their trip to an EU country.
In a statement sent to Travel Gossip, it blamed staff for incorrectly interpreting the post-Brexit rules, which state that a passport must be no more than 10 years old for entry to the EU and, separately, it must be valid for at least three months at the time of departure from the EU.
Some passports are older than 10 years because previously when a passenger renewed their passport before it expired, up to nine unused months were added to the new one.
While the EU insists that British passports are no more than 10 years old on entering an EU country, it recognises they are still valid until their stated expiry date so any months added when they were renewed will count towards the three-month rule.
However, EasyJet’s advice on its website prior to yesterday suggested that for travel to the EU passports could be no more than nine years and six months old. It has now changed the advice on its website to read:
“If you’re a UK passport holder travelling to the EU (except Ireland), or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City or Switzerland, your passport will need to meet the following criteria:
- It must be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to depart from the EU or above countries*
- It must be no more than 10 years’ old on the date of travel to the EU or above countries.
An airline spokesperson said it had also issued the new wording to ground crew as it was aware that there were occasions when they had incorrectly interpreted the policy.
“Should a passenger have been incorrectly not permitted to travel they can contact us via a simple webform on our website and our team would review and respond based on the particular circumstances of their individual case,” they added.
“As with individual cases we’ve been made aware of where denied boarding compensation is due, we of course provide this in addition to a full refund or rerouting expenses where required.”
Passengers who were incorrectly denied boarding could be entitled to £220 or £350 per person compensation, depending on the length of their flight, in addition to a fare refund and possible reimbursement for other expenses such as unused accommodation and car hire.