Stenhousemuir family still awaiting refund after Ryanair error over boy's passport

A family who were not allowed to board a holiday flight after airport staff wrongly claimed their 11-year-old’s passport was invalid are still awaiting a promised refund.

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 11:30 am

Natasha Rae was due to fly to Tenerife from Prestwick Airport on May 2 with her sons, Ryley and Barry McGuckin, and partner Chris Bell.

But despite the Stenhousemuir mum checking beforehand with the Passport Office that everyone was able to fly, Ryanair staff said 11-year-old Ryley’s passport was invalid and didn’t meet new Brexit travel rules.

The youngster's travel document was issued in February 2017 and expires in September 2022.

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Natasha Rae with sons Ryley and Barry McGuckin, and partner Chris Bell - they had issues with Ryley's passport at Prestwich Airport when Ryanair refused to let them fly. Pic: Michael Gillen

Brexit rules on entering the EU state passports must be less than ten years old and have at least three months' validity left on the passenger's return date.

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This means his passport is valid for use until the end of June.

Social work assistant Natasha, 31, said: “It was awful. This was a Christmas present from my mum, Jennifer Rae, and we were all looking forward to it. The boys were both crying.

Ryley McGuckin, 11, with his passport Ryanair staff claimed wasn't valid for his holiday flight

"I’d heard so many horror stories about people having passport issues that I’d checked several times that we were okay so I couldn’t understand why Ryanair were saying this.”

The family returned home but then decided to see if they could still fly to Tenerife that day from Edinburgh Airport with Jet2 holidays.

Although they had to pay £600 for the new flights, the family made a dash to the airport and managed to fly out almost 12 hours after their original travel time.

Now back home and with her sons back at St Bernadette’s Primary School, Natasha is still awaiting the promised refund and compensation after Ryanair admitted they had made a mistake.

They said in light of the “error” they would give the family the £313.79 cost of their unused flights and as a gesture of goodwill, £315 in compensation.

However, no cash has yet been paid despite Ryanair saying they’ve processed the refund, while the firm she booked the flights with, loveholidays, say they’ve not had the cash either.

Natasha said: “This was our first big holiday since the pandemic and we were all looking forward to it. It was another £600 for the Jet2 flights which is a lot of money to find at the last minute.

"Despite being told we will get the money, nothing has arrived yet.

"Thankfully, we did get away. The weather was great and we had a great time but it was a very stressful start to our holiday.”

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “A member of our customer service department was in touch with Ms Gray and her refund has indeed been processed.”

However, a spokesperson for loveholidays said: ““We were sorry to hear that the customer had a difficult experience when flying with Ryanair and appreciate any and all feedback from our customers. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for Ryanair to release the funds to loveholidays, at which time we will process the customer’s refund. We have informed the customer accordingly as to the reason for the delay.”