Woman’s passport ‘destroyed’ by airport scanner, costing $9700 in losses

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Most of us don’t think twice when we scan our passports at airport check-ins and security, but for one woman, this normal routine cost her to miss out on a £8,000 ($9,700) holiday.

UK passport holder Emily Allen had booked an all-inclusive holiday for her family, a husband and two young children, to Corfu in Greece.

Everything went well until the family reached the self-service check-in desks at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), where Allen placed her passport inside the airport’s passport scanner.

Allen initially placed her passport in the machine the wrong way round, so she slid the passport back out.

“During this process the photo/observations page, which on my 2016 document is not laminated – just paper covered by a thin film patch – ripped, leaving an inch-long tear across the edge of the passport photo,” Allen told the Telegraph.

When she notified airport staff about what occurred, Allen said she was advised to get a sticky tape from one of the shops to attempt to put the passport back together. Later on, the staff and Allen realized that this workaround would not be enough.

Allen was banned from boarding the flight, with airline staff warning her that Greek authorities could deny her entry and send her back to the UK. 

Allen then made the painful decision to completely cancel her and her family’s trip, because even the option of applying for an emergency passport could take up to two days. 

Despite filing a claim, Allen and her family lost £4,000 ($4,850) out of their £8,000 ($9,700) trip, as their travel insurance did not cover the losses.

Due to rampant cases of illegal immigration and human trafficking, countries worldwide are tightening laws against damaged passports. Even tiny rips in passports are valid enough reasons for passengers to be refused boarding or entry in a country. 

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