Traveller denied flight to Bali over 'tiniest' passport detail: 'So ridiculous'

The British woman was flying out of Sydney last week, but was not allowed to board the plane.

A British woman living in Australia is the latest traveller to be denied her flight to Bali due to the "tiniest" water mark on her passport.

Emma Dougherty, who lives in Bondi, Sydney, had planned a 10-day holiday to the Indonesian island and was due to fly out last week. However, she was allegedly told she could not fly using her "damaged" passport.

In 2019, Balinese authorities began enforcing a $7000 fine for airlines if they carry passengers with damaged passports, with some even being made to return to Australia. This has resulted in many travellers being turned away at airports across Australia, unable to have their holiday.

Blonde woman Emma Dougherty at Sydney Airport attempting to fly to Bali.
British woman Emma Dougherty was leaving Sydney for Bali, but her damaged passport meant she couldn't fly. Source: TikTok/emmafituk_

Emma said she was "gutted" to be missing her dream holiday, and warned everyone to check their passports before flying. She said the rule is "so ridiculous".

"So I’ve just been rejected on my flight to Bali," the fitness coach said in a TikTok video. "Basically there was a tiny bit of water damage at the bottom of my passport, I didn’t even notice it. I travel all the time and it’s never been mentioned to me before.

"Obviously I’m really upset, I’m gutted. I’ve just been sat here crying for the last 15 minutes. But I’m just going to tell myself that everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t meant to get on the flight today.”

Bali crackdown on damaged passports

Normal wear and tear is usually accepted, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. But water damage can stop you from travelling, the website reads. Emma shared a photo of the "damaged" passport with the "tiniest water mark" at the bottom of the pages.

"Apparently Bali airport [is] really strict and they are known for putting people into a cell if they don’t like your passport," Emma continued in her video which has since racked up over 1.3 million views."I have no idea what to do or where to go. Trying not to cry right now but whatever, I’d rather be stranded in Sydney than detained in a Balinese cell."

Blonde woman Emma Dougherty outside airport with luggage preparing to fly to Australia.
Emma Dougherty moved from the UK to Australia earlier this year. Source: TikTok/emmafituk_

She reminded her followers to "triple check" their passports to ensure there's "no damage no marks, no water or anything on your passport because they won’t let you in".

More travellers denied overseas trips

Last year, Aussie radio presenter Fifi Box was told by Melbourne Airport staff her daughter's passport couldn't be accepted. She was facing giving up her family holiday to Fiji because the passport had water damage, deeming it unacceptable.

And a Sydney woman was denied entry to New Zealand over minor damage on her passport.

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