A young Derry couple have spoken of how a romantic trip to Paris turned into a nightmare after they were refused entry at the gate to their plane.
Megan Meenan (23) and her boyfriend Adam Clarke had booked the flights as a special treat as they would not be able to travel this summer.
The couple had made their way through Belfast International Airport as normal and were at Gate 10, about the board their plane, when the Easyjet assistant expressed uncertainty over Adam’s passport.
Megan, who comes from the Bogside, said: “I went through fine and then Adam has a British passport which has one year remaining on it. It is the older type passport with the softer back but it’s still valid and you could clearly see it was Adam.
“In the past year we have flown with Norwegian Air, Ryanair, Thompson and even Easyjet and there has been no issue at all at any stage with the passport.
“The woman this time asked ‘did you use the passport before?’ and she radioed through and asked for a duty manager to come down but no manager ever came. She radioed another three times and still nobody came. Meanwhile the aeroplane radioed through asking whether we were being allowed to board.
“The manager was on the phone but she never ever came to look at the passport.”
Adam (25), who comes from the Woodbrook area, was then asked by the Easyjet attendant if he had any other identification and he produced his driving license.
The couple then heard the attendant on the phone saying she could clearly identify Adam in both the passport and the driving license.
Megan said a second, younger agent then told them ‘sorry, we’re unable to let you board the plane with that passport’.
Megan said: “I demanded to see a manger but again no manager came. We were told a manager was only available at the check-in desk.”
The couple said they had to go and seek out the manager, whom they claimed was unhelpful.
Megan said: “She said we could book another flight for £65 each but that she couldn’t guarantee she would let us on the plane. We told her that didn’t make sense, and she said it was up to us if we wanted to take the risk.”
The couple say they have lost out not only a dream trip but also financially, with the flights and hotel bookings and also airport parking and changing the euros back into sterling.
“We were really looking forward to it. Obviously it is absolutely devastating. I had a list of everything I wanted to do.”
Megan said she has tried to contact Easyjet through private mail as requested but as yet has received no response.”
A spokesman for Easyjet said: “easyJet works closely with the authorities and complies with their guidance to ensure the safety and security of all passengers and staff.
“Therefore, easyJet cannot allow any passenger to travel on their planned flight with documentation damaged to such a degree that its authenticity is brought into question.
“It is the passenger’s responsibility to have suitable documentation for travel.”
He added: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience.”