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EasyJet turns four-year-old away from Gatwick – but lets him fly from Southampton

Simon Calder’s Travel

A four-year-old and his mother took easyJet flight 1586 from Southampton to Geneva for a week’s holiday in the Alps. Shortly after 6pm on 17 December 2023, they cleared Swiss passport control.

Which, according to easyJet, they should not have been able to do. Earlier that same day, the airline had turned them away from a Gatwick-Geneva flight.

Yet easyJet immediately sold them flights for a further £198 and allowed them on the plane from the Hampshire airport.

The four-year-old, his two siblings and their parents live in Guernsey. They were all booked on the easyJet morning flight from London Gatwick to the Swiss airport, paying just over £150 each.

A few days before their holiday, the parents had realised the four-year-old’s passport would not meet the post-Brexit passport validity requirements the UK requested after leaving the EU.

Fortunately, the Guernsey passport office is able to issue temporary passports for children that are valid across Europe for one year. They duly obtained the document and travelled to Gatwick.

The father describes events at the departure gate at the Sussex airport: “We attempted to board the easyJet flight. The gate picked up that my son had a green-covered UK/Guernsey passport valid for one year.

“The gate staff called their office, and the office refused him to board. We tried to explain but to no avail. So my wife had to stay with our four-year-old, who was distraught, whilst I travelled with our other two children, who were also distraught.

“When my wife and son were escorted from airside to landside, a Gatwick immigration officer asked what was happening. The gate staff said it was an invalid passport. When the immigration officer checked, he said: ‘No, this is a valid passport’ – at which point the ground staff told him the flight had left anyway and hurried my wife and son away.”

Knowing the document was valid for travel to Switzerland, his wife booked a same-day flight with easyJet from Southampton to Geneva. The pair travelled without incident. Due to their late arrival, they had to take a taxi for the last past of their journey.

On their return, the father sought recompense for the extra costs as well as the denied-boarding compensation they were due.

The response from the airline mirrored the case of Jacqueline McGeough, who easyJet refused to allow on a holiday flight to Italy. The…

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