The travel loophole left Ian Glover, 66, frustrated as he was initially unable join his family on their holiday in Faro, Portugal. Ryanair staff explained to the retired chartered surveyor his passport’s issue date needed to be at least three months after his date of travel – but is July this year, just two months away.
But Jet2 follows different rules so Ian was able to book a flight the next day with that airline from the same hub – East Midlands Airport.
Speaking to Derbyshire Live, he warned other holidaymakers of restrictions of passport validity.
Ian, from Allestree, Derby, said: “As I was going through the Ryanair check-in desk, she said that your passport isn’t valid. I said it was because I looked at the Government website and it said that it shouldn’t have been issued more than ten years ago, and it was issued in July 2012, which means the 10 years is July this year, and it also stated you needed to have three months from expiry, and the expiry is the 6th April 2023.
“I’d read stories about people having problems so I’d looked into it but thought I was fine. What Ryanair were saying was that the expiry date is irrelevant, it’s the issue date that matters.
“What they’re saying is that 10 years after the passport expires obviously, but they also want three months from the expiry of the date of issue. That’s not being made clear at all.”
Ian said the Government website that does not make these travel restrictions clear enough.
“The Ryanair lady said she was so sorry but she really couldn’t let us through, so she said go and talk with Jet2, which I didn’t really understand, but they said they didn’t follow the same rules and I could buy a ticket from them,” Ian continued.
“I asked them to check my passport in depth and they said that’s all okay and I bought the ticket.
“Now reading this information, I’m thinking if I get to that border in Portugal, I haven’t read anyone who has been banned from going in Portugal, but it’s very confusing what Ryanair are doing, and I can now understand why, but that Jet2 aren’t. What bothers me most is that it doesn’t make it clear.
“The language the Government website uses – ‘it may need’, ‘it might be’ – I’ve just gone on the passport validity. I had loads of time left on my passport, and I was well within the six months.”
The Government website states that in order to enter Portugal, a UK citizen’s passport must satisfy two conditions – be less than ten years from the date of issue, and be valid for at least three months after the date you leave. It also adds that for some countries in the Schengen area of Europe, this extra three month rule may also apply.
Mr Glover was encouraged by the Ryanair assistant to ask the Jet2 desk if the same rules applied to them and if he was able to buy a ticket from them so he could join his family on holiday. They checked his passport and said he would be able to fly with them the next day (Apr 26) as they did not have the same passport restrictions.
“Jet2 looked through everything and said their flight to Portugal had just gone but there was a flight tomorrow. They said I was fine to come back on my original ticket because I would be coming back into the UK and they’re okay with passports being like that,” Mr Glover said.
“I think people should just be aware of it because when I left the airport and spoke to a woman behind the bar, she told her passport was exactly the same or even less time, so I don’t think she’ll be able to get a new one in time for her holiday. I think there are going to be a lot of people turning up at airports in the summer, who are thinking ‘great, here we go’, I think there should just be more information to be honest.
“To be fair the lady on the Ryanair desk was pleasant and she did recommend solutions like Jet2. After I went off to get a coffee at arrivals, she’d finished her shift and came running up to me and asked how I got on, and was so pleased when I told her I got another ticket.
“She was most helpful and did the best she could, and I was pleased she told me I was pleasant as well. After the day I’d had I just felt as flat as a pancake to be honest, but then I did count my blessings being able to come back here and play my golf and play my tennis.
“I’m very lucky really. It was a right blow rushing round the hospital, and then we rushed off thinking we’d made it, only for that to happen, we felt very flat.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “Ryanair complies with all European Commission travel regulations and passengers travelling between the EU and the UK after the end of the transition period must have a passport that is not valid for more than 10 years. These T&C’s are available here on Ryanair.com.
“The Schengen Borders Code Article 6, Section 1 (A), states that any non-EU nationals who want to travel into Schengen will need to comply with passport validity of three months within the 10 year rule. The only exemption of this rule is when British (or other non-EU) nationals are in possession of a residence permit for an EU Member State.
“The Passport Office adds extra months on top of the 10 years when passengers renew the document early, however as per the above Article, the EU does not recognise the extra months added to the 10 years.
“In the instance of Mr. Glover – he was correctly denied boarding to his flight to Faro. Considering the 10 year rule, his passport would be expiring on 06 July 2022. As the passenger was returning from the Schengen Area on 4th May 2022, we calculate three months from this date – which is 4th August 2022, and unfortunately his passport would have been expired.”