A WOMAN was banned from her flight after her passport was slightly damaged.
Lindsey Gray was relocating from Sydney to New Zealand in March with her partner and her one-year-old son Douglas, who both were already New Zealand citizens.
After waiting for months for a travel permit, Ms Gray had finally got permission to move.
It was only when she reached Sydney’s international airport that immigration officials spotted minor damage to a couple of pages on her passport.
As a result, Ms Gray was unable to board the plane.
Ms Gray told Yahoo News that at some point in the chaos of moving country, her young toddler must have found her passport and chewed on the edges.
“When [New Zealand immigration officials] saw the nibble on my passport, they were 100 per cent unimpressed,” she said.
“They told me it could have been tampered with and therefore I would not be allowed to travel.”
Ms Gray explained that as New Zealand borders were closed at the time, her passport needed to be checked by an immigration official.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, normal wear and tear on passports should be fine with only more serious damage such as marks, tears and remoed pages preventing travel.
After the family’s move being constantly delayed due to Covid, Ms Gray found the experience very upsetting and expensive.
She said: “We had our house on the market and all our possessions already shipped to New Zealand and therefore we were effectively homeless in Australia.”
As a result the family had to stay in a hotel while they waited for an emergency passport, which cost AUD$533 (£302) and get new Covid tests.
Despite all this, the family were able to fly out the following day, with Ms Gray praising Qantas staff and the passport office staff for being so compassionate.
“The best part of this story is that my puffy, distressed, cry-face is now my passport image for the next ten years,” she joked.
Lindsey isn’t the first person to be stopped due to a damaged passport – Bronte Gossling, who was attempting to travel from Sydney in Australia to Bali for a holiday, was stopped from boarding.
Having spent AUD$4,000 (£2,200) on flights, all-inclusive hotels and Covid tests, she was told at the desk that she wouldn’t be getting on her flight – as her passport was too mouldy.
New rules for travellers heading to Bali were introduced in 2019, meaning much stricter regulations on the condition of the passport.
Indonesian authorities can enforce fines up to $5,000 (£3,292) on airlines if they bring passengers to the island with damaged passports.
In 2019, Australian football player Sam Kerr was prevented from boarding her Jetstar flight after the airline deemed it was too damaged to fly with despite having minimal wear and tear.
Also that year, a man with a nine-year-old passport described as “slightly damaged” was stopped from boarding a Batik Air flight from Perth on Christmas Day
And a couple lost £7,500 after their dream holiday was “ruined” because their passport was deemed too damaged for travel.
A version of this story was originally published on news.com.au and has been reproduced with permission.