Irish holidaymakers face confusion over necessary documents when flights take off again

Irish holidaymakers face confusion over necessary documents when flights take off again

The journey is back in a big way. Hundreds of thousands of people leave the country every week in waves not seen since the pre-pandemic, with similar numbers heading in the opposite direction to enjoy all that Ireland has to offer.

And thanks to all that is good and true for it, Pricewatch says. But with everything that comes and goes, there is a certain confusion, especially when it comes to the requirements for entering different countries, requirements that have changed repeatedly since the pandemic began. And the confusion does not seem to exist among the traveling public.

The confusion has led readers to contact them to seek clarification and help.

First of all, a question comes from a reader named Christina, even though she is not the only one who has been in contact with us about the same question recently.

“We are going on our holiday to Mallorca on July 11,” she writes. She and her family will be abroad for two weeks and return home on July 25. She is worried because her 12-year-old daughter’s passport expires on July 27, just two days after she returned home, and she is worried that it may be problematic after reading that some countries, including Spain, insist that there is more time is left on a passport before people are admitted.

“I tried to call the passport office [and] I also tried to call the Spanish embassy to ask them, but it just rings all the time, she says. “My travel agents, TUI, said it would be good, that the Spaniards would accept it and that it would only be a possible problem with Eastern European countries.”

Christina is not convinced and wonders if she should renew her daughter’s passport now just to be safe.

We contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see what the story is. “For holders of Irish and EU passports, the travel document only needs to be valid for the dates of your trip – to have enough validity to get you back,” said a spokesman. DFA’s travel advice makes it clear in the section “additional information”.

News articles

As we said at the beginning, other readers have contacted us with similar problems and it seems that this is due to the fact that some news articles published in Irish newspapers have caused some confusion by suggesting that a three-month validity is required.

The origin of these reports can be found on the page with entry requirements for the Spanish Embassy in the section referring to entry requirements for non-EU citizens. “A passport must be valid for at least three months after the planned departure date from the Schengen territory”, it states, without clarifying that this requirement does not apply to EU citizens. On the same page, slightly above that line, it says: “Citizens of the Member States of the European Union and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may enter Spain with their national identity card or with a valid passport. “There are therefore no specific requirements regarding the validity of travel documents for EU citizens.

We have also heard from people who have encountered serious obstacles when using a certain travel document. One such person who heard from him last week was Cian Kinsella.

“On Sunday, I was scheduled to fly from Girona to Stansted,” he writes. “I checked in online, got there in good time and was let through security, passport control, tax free and everything.

At the boarding gate, Ryanair hosts, who checked my passport, flagged it to their colleague, who insisted that I needed either a passport book or proof of payment. I had used exactly this card to take me from Stansted to Madrid that Tuesday, with Ryanair, says Cian.

“I said it was good to use according to both the UK and the RoI, but she insisted I could not get on the plane. They took me back to a manager in the main foyer, who barely gave me 30 seconds of his time and told me that since Brexit I can not use the passport. The other woman and the boss were both rude to me, and the woman said “I think we speak the same language” in a sarcastic tone. “

With little else to do, Cian booked a flight to Cork from Girona and then booked a new flight from Cork to London Gatwick. “It cost me about 140 pounds and they were both Ryanair flights. I got back through the security check (without the wine I had bought duty free there, which I still had receipts for), passport control etc. I sat on the plane nicely and got to In Cork, I got on board my flight to Gatwick well with my passport, and I arrived around noon.

The email from Cian reminded us of an email we received before Christmas that we had intended to highlight then but did not. It came from a reader named Ciaran Mahon.

“A word of warning”

“When we go to the skies again, a word of warning regarding trusting a passport,” he wrote. “I have just returned from Vienna after a four-day break – the first trip abroad in over 18 months. We flew with Ryanair. Because I was aware of the need to bring identification that would fit in a wallet, to back up my Covid Vaccination Digital Certificate, I decided to use my passport this time. ”

He says that the departure “went smoothly with Ryanair Dublin Gate staff and in fact incoming Austrian passport control who checked my passport in addition to DCC. A very pleasant stay in Vienna followed – with our Digital Covids certificates and in particular the second dose of vaccine – which was checked at every place and attraction. ”

But then it was time to return to Ireland on a flight operated – on behalf of Ryanair – by Lauda Air.

“As before, the security check and the control of my passport at the outgoing Austrian passport control went well. The flight was called and I showed my card at the gate. The boarding staff told me that they could not accept national ID cards and asked if I had a standard passport with me. I told her that it was in fact a passport – equivalent to any standard passport – that would be used in the EU, she said that there were problems with accepting these cards in Stansted and Dublin and that only a full passport was acceptable.

Ciaran said she would not be persuaded. “At this stage, the queue behind me was long, and as it happened, I had also brought my standard passport. I produced this and got a painting. Ironically, my passport number is the one stored on Ryanair’s passenger portal. When I packed, I remember thinking, “Take this one” for safety’s sake, in case something went wrong. “What a right I was.”

He said he had no doubt that I had the right to fly within the EU with my passport. And in this case, there was no problem with the passport control at either end when I took out my card. The problem was Ryanair / Lauda Air’s ground staff who – for some reason – did not initially accept the passport card for boarding “, he writes.

He wondered if it could have been confusion. Lauda’s staff mentioned that there were problems with accepting the card in Dublin and Stansted. Ireland and the United Kingdom are outside Schengen. And, of course, Britain is now outside the EU. Did the Lauda staff possibly think that Dublin was under British jurisdiction? Unlikely, but anything is possible.

“The problem is that you really can not argue for the point with the boarding staff once they have decided. Traveling these days is stressful enough. This is added unnecessarily. The lesson from this is that you may be right on your side, but it will be your problem if they stick to this approach. So I, for one, will no longer use the passport – better to be safe than sad and travel with your full standard passport. ”

We then went to the Department of Foreign Affairs on passport cards. This is what it says. “It is valid for travel to all EU Member States, members of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is recognized as a valid travel document by relevant national authorities.”

Ryanair’s response

So we went on to Ryanair to see what it had to say.

In a statement, a spokeswoman said that the airline actually accepts Irish passport cards as a valid travel document for travel to / from all EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

“We sincerely regret that Mr Kinsella was wrongly denied travel from Girona to London Stansted on 5 June by the airport service agent who wrongly believed that Mr Kinsella’s card was a national ID card, which is not acceptable to enter the UK from Spain after October last year. changes to EU / EEA / Swiss national ID cards, which are not valid for travel to / from the UK, we work hard with our handling agents to eliminate this confusion.

“We sincerely apologize to Mr Kinsella for the inconvenience caused and our agents at Girona Airport have agreed in this case to compensate him for the amount of € 250 and to fully reimburse the cost of his flights to Cork and Gatwick.”

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