A COUPLE lost £7,500 after their dream holiday was “ruined” because their passport was deemed too damaged for travel.
Richard and Ann Lane, from Lincolnshire, were also forced to miss three weeks of their three-month holiday as they were prevented from entering Bali and Malaysia.
They had planned to travel around Asia and Australia, visiting many of their children and grandchildren.
The pair, who are both retired, left on December 7 in 2018 and managed to visit a number of countries including Dubai, India, Malaysia and Australia without any problems.
When they tried to fly to Bali on January 21 last year, they were stopped at the airport.
Richard, 76, explained to Rip Off Britain: “We went to immigration [at Brisbane Airport], and my passport failed to scan.
“I was taken back to the desk of the airline and there I was held, and held, and held.
“Meanwhile, my wife had gone through immigration so I was on my own. I was left in limbo.”
He was told that a small hole in the document wasn’t letting it scan, despite him having used it to travel already.
Richard was then told that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel to Bali.
He said: “Eventually, someone told us that our trip to Bali could not happen because if the airline allowed us to fly, they would be fined heavily for trying to bring someone into the country with inappropriate documentation.
“My passport had only been used once before the trip, and it was not damaged when we left Heathrow Airport.”
The couple then booked new flights through Singapore to visit Malaysia, where one of their daughters lives, to get an emergency travel document – only to face more problems.
Richard added: “Again, it didn’t scan at Singapore.
“They said ‘you’re not going anywhere, you’ve not got a valid passport’.
“I felt victimised, I felt angry, I felt frustrated. I felt that in fact my holiday was being ruined.”
He was eventually given a special document which would allow him to get to the embassy in Singapore, but they were forced to miss their trip to Malaysia along with a visit to see their three grandchildren.
They had to stay in an expensive hotel in Singapore while they were waiting for the document, as the country was celebrating Chinese New Year meaning a lack of accommodation was available.
The couple lost £7,500 on extra flights and hotels.
To make matters worse, their extensive insurance plan refused to cover the additional costs.
OWN GOAL Travellers are being banned from Bali for having slightly damaged passports
Their insurance provider explained that they were covered for “reasonable costs” when trying to acquire a new passport if it is “lost, stolen or destroyed” but mentioned nothing about if it was damaged.
The insurer gave them £50 as a gesture of goodwill.
They went to an insurance ombudsman but lost their case, although they were offered an additional £100 for the cost of the emergency travel document.
They declined the offer, as Richard said: “The offer was an insult. We felt very let down. What was the point, what did we take the insurance out for?”
He added: “The exciting bits of the trip which we anticipated were meeting the children and grandchildren who we missed so much.
“We were so disappointed. You can’t predict getting a hole in your passport, so we were just staggered.”
He said he hopes his story is a warning to others.
It isn’t the first time tourists have been stopped from travelling to Bali due to having damaged passports.
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