Check the expiry: Woman barred from boarding despite valid passport
A Toronto woman is scrambling to book a new flight so she can visit her ailing mother in Portugal after she was barred from boarding a plane because her passport expires within three months of her trip.
Michelle Araujo says she recently booked a last-minute Air Transat flight to Portugal after family members said her mother had become very ill.
“My first step is to look at my passport and see that the expiry date was not until May. So I figured I’m good. I’ll go to Portugal for one week, come back, and renew my passport,” she told CTV Toronto on Tuesday.
Araujo said she arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport and checked in and and went to board her flight just like any other trip.
However, she was prevented from boarding the plane after she was told her passport wasn’t valid for her stay in Europe.
“God, I fell to my knees because I couldn’t believe they would not let me board the plane,” she said.
Araujo said she tried to reason with the airline staff at the airport.
“[I said] ‘Here my mom is on her deathbed and you won’t let me on the plane,’” she said. “They basically told me ‘No you can’t board the plane because your expiry date is within the next two months… it has to be at least three months.’”
Araujo’s passport expires on May 13.
Even though she had planned to travel to Portugal for only a week and would be home before her passport’s expiry date, Araujo’s travel documents were not valid.
On its website, Air Transat clearly states that “Canadians travelling in a European Union country must hold a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected return from that country.”
Araujo said she spent $1,200 on her airline tickets and she’s not eligible for a refund.
Now, the Toronto woman said she’s trying to renew her passport and rebook her flight as quickly as she can so she can still visit her mother.
“I don’t want a refund, just give me another seat on a plane so I can go see my mom,” she said.
A spokesperson for Air Transat told CTV Toronto that “It is ultimately the passengers’ sole responsibility to ensure that they hold the required travel documents. However, as a good faith gesture, we will contact Ms. Araujo and offer a solution to adjust her file.”