Boy sobs as Ryanair deny boarding for family holiday due to passport rule

A young boy was left in tears after Ryanair refused to allow him to board his flight to Tenerife with his family.

Ryley McGuckin, 11, sobbed to staff at Prestwick Airport when they told him his passport was invalid despite having four months left on it.

The youngster’s documents were issued in March 2017 and were due to expire in September 2022.

Post-Brexit rules now demand that Brits entering the EU must have passports less than 10 years old with at least three months’ of validity left on the passenger’s return date.

This means Ryley’s passport should have been valid for use until June 31.

But, Ryanair staff told mum Natasha Rae that her son’s passport was more than five years old and was therefore invalid in the EU.

Natasha told the Daily Record : "We arrived at the airport on Monday at 4am to check-in for the flight at 6am and the person at the desk said they had to phone 'Ryanair immigration'.

"After they got off the phone they said we weren't able to fly because his passport was invalid and that it was against the law.

"We were absolutely devastated. Both of my sons were crying.

"Barry wasn't old enough to understand and was absolutely distraught.

"Ryley was devastated because he thought it was all his fault we couldn't go on holiday and he was apologising to his wee brother."

The holiday was a gift to the family from Natasha’s mother.

Natasha stated that she had checked all of the family’s passports with the Passport Office and the FCDO prior to leaving.

But, they were fuming when Ryanair staff turned them away.

So, they headed to Edinburgh airport to try their luck there instead and booked a package holiday to Tenerife through Jet2 splashing out another £600 on flights.

Natasha claims that Ryanair “made up” the child passport rule and is seeking compensation for the extra stress and costs.

She added: "I doubt I'm going to be able to get my money back – I just don't trust Ryanair at all now.

"It's not like I just had £600 lying around for the Jet2 flights either. People save year-round for this.

"This is our first big family holiday since before the pandemic, and we were so excited.

"Ryanair has just made up its own rules. I will never fly with them again, ever."

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) noted that anyone who is denied boarding with "no reasonable grounds" to do so is entitled to compensation.

Reimbursement should be sought from the airline first and then through an alternative dispute resolution scheme (ADR) if the carrier does not resolve the initial complaint.

The CAA did not say whether it was working with Ryanair to ensure its rules were in line with the law.

A statement from Ryanair to the Daily Record admitted the airline's mistake and confirmed the family had been given a full refund for the unused flight.

It said: "Our Immigration Dept. have now clarified this case with the EU Commission and we now accept that our handling agents at Glasgow Prestwick Airport wrongly believe that this child's passport was not valid for travel as they wrongly believed that a child's passport must be no more than 5 years old on the date of travel, whereas in fact, all UK nationals travelling to the EU, regardless of age, must meet the same entry requirements for travel to the EU, which are:

"1. Passports must be issued within 10 years of the date of arrival into the EU.

"2. The passport must be valid for at least three months from the return date of travel from the EU unless the passenger has a Schengen issued Residence Permit or a Schengen long term visa.

"In light of this clear error on our part, we have written to his family and given them a full refund of GBP £313.79 cost of their unused flights and as a gesture of goodwill, we have also given them a travel voucher for another £315 which we hope they will use to book more Ryanair flights for the family in the very near future.

"We apologise sincerely for the error we made in this case and we have updated our briefing notes to all our airport handling agents to ensure this error does not recur."

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