Couple endure holiday nightmare after airport staff rip passport

The passport was damaged at check-in. Picture: Contributed
The passport was damaged at check-in. Picture: Contributed
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A couple’s holiday of a lifetime turned into a nightmare after one of their passports was damaged as they checked in for the flight.

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Pregnant Leigh Henderson, of Fetterangus, was due to travel abroad to Bali with her husband Ryan for their best friend’s wedding.

But their travelling plans took a turn for the worse when the couple reached Edinburgh Airport.

Check-in staff accidentally ripped Leigh’s passport and she would have not been able to use it abroad.

The couple were then told they would need to drive a 230 mile round trip to Durham in England to collect an emergency passport and were booked on to another flight due to leave the following day.

Leigh, 30, who was seven months pregnant at the time, said: “It was a big decision to fly when pregnant but I felt fine and we got the all-clear. It was a once in a lifetime holiday, our best friends were getting married.

“The check-in woman was saying how lovely a holiday it would be and was generally chatting when she went to put the luggage tag on and it stuck to the passport.”

The hairdresser said the airport worker then tried to remove the tag but it ripped the information page of her passport.

She added: “My husband saw what had happened and said it was not good. Being pregnant, I was quite emotional. I started crying and the woman said, ‘Oh my God, I’ll try and get it sorted’.

“We spent hours in the airport and were told we would have to go to Durham to get an emergency passport.”

The couple then spent three hours travelling down to the city in north-east England which was the closest office to offer an appointment for the next morning.

They were booked into a hotel that night and almost missed the next flight home the following day because they got stuck in major tailbacks due to a collision.

When they arrived at the airport, they soon realised they no longer had seats booked together on the plane.

Ryan, 32, said: “There was the constant stress of whether we would be able to get a passport in time, the uncomfortable extra hours of travelling, the phone calls to friends and family with the possibility of having to make changes to the wedding schedule if we could not attend, the rushing to the airport in order to catch the flight.

“All these things were stressful never mind for my seven-month pregnant wife, the result of which was an extremely uncomfortable travelling experience for her that included vomiting on the plane.”

The additional costs of fuel and a new passport, as well as having to park in another car park nearer the airport to get to their plane on time came to 651.17 pounds.

However, the couple said Swissport, the organisation responsible for checking passengers on to flights has agreed to cover the costs of the new passport, photos and fuel costs which amount to 201.13 pounds.

Leigh said her husband had take time to plan out the trip to make it easier for her, which included flying out to Bali two days before the wedding celebrations started at the end of July.

She said: “My husband works as a planner and made sure it was going to be comfortable for us, especially me. But it didn’t quite work out like that unfortunately.

“My body clock didn’t adjust so I lost five days of the holiday. I was sleeping all day and up at night.

“It’s heartbreaking because it is time you will just not get back.

“We lost two days and had to stay up for 24 hours to make the wedding so I was definitely done in afterwards.

“The wedding was beautiful so we’re glad we made it.”

A spokesman for Qatar Airways said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused, our ground staff at Edinburgh airport provided assistance to ensure that the passengers arrived at their destination with the minimum of delay.

“We remain in contact with them to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”