Traveller denied flight to popular holiday destination over tiny passport detail

A small, subtle tear on an Aussie woman's passport meant she couldn't fly to Bali.

A young Australian was in tears after being stopped from boarding her flight to Bali due to a tiny detail on her passport.

Sydneysider Elyse Elmer went to check in for her flight to the popular holiday destination on Tuesday when Virgin Airlines staff at the counter dropped a bombshell that would derail her holiday.

Despite previously noticing the small tear in the corner of her passport, Elyse had recently travelled to Thailand and Hong Kong in the last six months so thought nothing of it. "I was absolutely shocked at the counter when she was like 'I don’t think you can fly because Indonesia is super strict'," Elyse told Yahoo News Australia.

Images of Elyse's passport with the tear in the corner.
The tear in her passport meant Elyse Elmer was unable to fly to Bali. Source: Supplied

Elyse shared that Virgin staff quickly re-booked her on a flight for the next day without extra costs. But, this meant she had less than 24 hours to organise an emergency passport.

She went to Officeworks first thing Wednesday morning to get her passport photos then went to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) office in Surry Hills at 9am, as soon as they were open, to fill out the paperwork and forms required.

"They told me they would do the best they could to get it done for me the same day, but they did say to me that they weren’t connected with the airlines and couldn't promise [anything," Elyse said.

Traveller praised travel insurance for 'reimbursement'

However, DFAT was able to fast-track Elyse's emergency passport "in about 90 mins". While it cost Elyse $598 for the renewal, she also shared the ordeal with her travel insurance which ended up reimbursing her for "the whole thing" — including the first night in the hotel she missed and her transport.

"This is why I get travel insurance — in case anything rogue happens," Elyse, who is now living it up in Bali, told Yahoo.

Left image of Elyse talking to camera after being denied entry. Right image of Elyse in Bali.
Elyse has now made it to Bali after ordering an emergency passport. Source: TikTok/Supplied

Balinese authorities fine for damaged passports

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." Aussie travellers are urged to keep passports "intact and in good condition".

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.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.