Tiny passport detail almost cancels radio host's Fiji holiday
Aussie radio host Fifi Box revealed how a tiny detail on her daughter's passport almost stopped her family from boarding a plane to Fiji.
The mother of two, 45, said she'd "checked everything" in the lead-up to her family holiday last week, but was told by Melbourne airport staff the passport couldn't be accepted.
The passport, belonging to her three-year-old daughter Daisy, apparently had a small amount of water damage which was deemed unacceptable.
But after a minor "meltdown" and help from the Virgin airline staff, she was eventually allowed to board the plane to Fiji.
Speaking on Melbourne’s 101.9 The Fox Fifi, Fev & Nick on Monday, Ms Box explained that Fijian immigration officers aren't so strict when it comes to wear and tear on travel documents.
But if she'd been flying anywhere else, particularly Bali, Indonesia, she would have been knocked back, she was told.
Recalling the ordeal, Ms Box explained a woman at the front of the arrivals queue had grabbed the passports and walked off.
"She came back and she said 'unfortunately one of your passports is water damaged and that won't be accepted," Ms Box recalled.
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The mum of two admitted she was "tearing up" at the thought of missing out on her holiday and said the "whole line had passed" her while she attempted to find a solution.
Luckily, the airline staff member was sympathetic and offered to try and help, and was eventually able to let Ms Box and her family through.
"She came back and said, 'Look, if it was Bali, no way. Indonesia won't let you in with that passport, but Fiji will,'' Ms Box said.
Aussie travellers experience extensive passport delays
According to the Australian Passport Office, serious passport damage can stop you from travelling. But the website states: "Normal wear and tear should not be a problem."
Contact with water or other liquids can cause serious damage and can therefore prevent travelling.
Since travel picked up again following the pandemic, thousands of jet-setters have experienced lengthy passport delays and frustration disturbances.
Ms Box urged Aussies to make sure damaged passports are replaced ahead of holiday plans.
While she managed to avoid a holiday disaster of her own, others haven't been so lucky and dozens have detailed their own passport woes online in recent months,
Passport offices across the world have struggled to keep up with an unprecedented amount of passport applications due to Covid-19 shortages and increased demand.
One woman documented her 12-hour wait in Sydney in hope of renewing her passport, and she's not the only one.
People on social media have been sharing photos of painfully long lines outside passport offices around Australia, with reports of three to four month waiting times for new passports to arrive.
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