A TikTok traveler has warned holidaymakers to take very good care of their passports – otherwise their holiday could be in jeopardy.
Emma Doherty revealed she was denied boarding a flight to Bali, Indonesia because her passport had a “little bit of water damage.”
Her experience reminds us how important it is to make sure your passport is in good condition, as any country can use passport damage as a reason for refusing entry.
In a recent clipwhich has been viewed nearly 900,000 times, Emma explains that Sydney airport staff were not allowed to board her on her flight to the Indonesian island.
The fitness influencer, who is originally from Somerset but currently lives in Australia, advised travelers to “triple check” that their passport has “no damage, no stains, no water or anything” before heading to the airport.
A TikTok traveler has claimed she was not allowed to board a flight to Bali, Indonesia because her passport had a ‘little bit of water damage’
She says, “I have literally just been told that if they let me into Bali, the army and security at the airport [in Bali] would put me in a cell. Apparently Bali’s airports are really strict and are known to put people in a cell if they don’t like your passport.’
Emma adds: ‘I’m really upset. I am literally gutted. I’ve been crying here for fifteen minutes.’
In the comments section, other TikTokers admitted they had had a similar experience, with user ‘Santa Piterniece’ writing, “My partner’s passport page was a bit torn and they wouldn’t let him board the flight to Bali either.”
User Christopher Atkins weighed in: “I had the same thing. Landed in Bali, had to wait in a cell until I could get a flight.’
And Tik Toker, ‘travel with hol’, who lives in Bali, responded to the video by saying, “When you come to Bali… make sure your passport is literally in mint condition. Or it’s true – you’re being held.’
Another traveler, Australian Bronte Gossling, had the same problem last year when she flew from Sydney to Melbourne for a connecting Jetstar flight to the popular Indonesian holiday island. When checking in for her flight, airline staff said she would not be able to board because of “a little bit of water damage” on the photo page of her passport.
Why is this especially common among holidaymakers who go to Bali? 2019, The Western Australian reported that Indonesia had introduced stricter restrictions on admitting travelers with damaged passports and would fine airlines up to £3,900 (US$5,000) if they carry passengers with damaged passports on inbound flights.
“A damaged passport is one that the customer cannot use as proof of identity due to its state,” reveals gov.uk
WHAT IS A ‘DAMAGED’ PASSPORT?
Gov.uk says: ‘A damaged passport is a passport which the customer cannot use as proof of identity due to its condition.’
It says damage can include:
- “If the personal data or observation page is illegible”
- “Laminate peeling off or detached from personal data page”
- ‘Unreadable security data’
- ‘Missing or loose pages’
- “Where the front, back, or personal details page is cut”
- ‘damage or discoloration of any part of the passport, for example caused by water; spilled chemicals or ink; tears, tears, bite marks’
- ‘On a blue e-passport, where the perforated passport numbers are torn (the perforations will show slight charring, this is normal); personal data page is broken or cracked’
- ‘Where the chip or antenna is visible through the flyleaf on the back of a burgundy e-passport; personal data page of a blue e-passport’
That said, travelers to other popular beach holiday destinations, such as Thailand and the Maldives, have faced similar problems with their passports.
Earlier this year, UK TikToker Amy Grundy claimed her passport was refused at Manchester Airport for a flight to Thailand because of a torn page. She managed to get an emergency passport and catch another flight, with the experience earning her £700.
In 2019, Made in Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo made headlines when she was detained at Malé Airport in the Maldives because a page was missing from her passport, even though she was eventually released after being held for nine hours.
In a similar experience, Reddit user ‘morning crush’ revealed last year that they were denied boarding on a flight to the Maldives because, they were told, their passports were “not in the correct condition and Maldives immigration would change.” [them] away’. The British passport holder wrote: ‘My passport, as far as the regulations on gov.uk go, is in the correct condition…all this has cost me extra money, time and stress.’
Meanwhile, North American TikToker ‘bright owls’ said she was rejected when she tried to board a flight for her “dream trip” to Ireland because she ripped a “tiny” piece off her passport. She claimed airport staff said the crack meant scanners would have a hard time reading her ID.
And another untitled Reddit user previously revealed that they were rejected for a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina, because their “passport [was] a bit worn out’. They said, “It’s just a little worn and the last page is coming loose in one corner.”
So, what is a damaged passport? “A damaged passport is a passport that the customer cannot use as proof of identity because of its condition” gov.uk reveals.
It notes that harm may include the personal data being illegible; when the laminate peels off from the personal data page; when there are missing or loose pages; or when there is water damage or ink spillage.
For the replacement of a damaged passport, travelers can contact the gov.uk website.