I made tiny passport mistake minutes before boarding – it ruined my dream holiday and I couldn’t get a refund

A holidaymaker has attacked an airline after she was banned from boarding the plane due to a minor problem with her passport.

Claire Cowles’ ‘dream trip’ to Ireland ended in disaster when she noticed a small tear in her travel document at the check-in desk.

Claire Cowles, 21, called Aer Lingus the


Claire Cowles, 21, called Aer Lingus the “worst airline” after not being able to fly
Her dream vacation to Ireland was ruined by a minor problem with her passport


Her dream vacation to Ireland was ruined by a minor problem with her passportPhoto credit: tiktok/@claireecowles

The 21-year-old from the United States said she was on her way to the airport with her mother, her boyfriend and his mother when she realized this.

But she claims Aer Lingus staff invariably refused her passage – while the four were already piling up their luggage.

In a TikTok video, Claire said she explained she accidentally damaged her passport just “five minutes earlier.”

“The airline not only won’t let us on board, they won’t give us a refund,” she said.

The tourist admitted she began sobbing uncontrollably as the trip she had “planned for months” lay in ruins.

The fact that she would lose “thousands of dollars” on tours, hotels and travel bookings only added to Claire’s turmoil.

And as icing on the cake, she revealed that the trip was a graduation and Christmas present from her loved ones.

She explained in a video shared online: “I caused a little scene at the airport. I was sobbing profusely all over the place.”

When Aer Lingus refused to back down from their harsh judgment, Claire branded them the “worst airline” while also slamming the staff for providing the “worst customer service of their lives”.

“Thousands of dollars lost and no help, save yourself and never fly Aer Lingus,” the furious vacationer warned her 136,000 followers.

“May I also add that all my necessary information was visible.”

Claire claimed she even went to US Customs to make sure the tear in her passport meant she couldn’t fly.

She continued, “They confirmed they would let me on board and it was fine, at the airline’s discretion.”

“It’s the number one Irish airline so I thought it was reputable. It was a tiny crack far away from the code part.”

“Some of the hotels and tours we booked didn’t give us a refund either.”

According to the HM Passport Office, normal wear and tear on passports should be fine, with only more serious damage such as stains, tears and removed pages preventing travel.

Claire then embarked on a frantic search for a solution to her travel woes, even ending up in the Washington DC House of Representatives

However, despite going ‘straight to the source’, she was unable to obtain a passport in time and sadly missed her trip to Ireland.

Instead, she had to learn the hard way that the airline has the final say on whether or not a passenger can travel.

“Moral of the story, renew your passports now,” she added.

Social media users were stunned by the dramatic passing saga, and many assured Claire they would have reacted the same way.

One wrote: “Bro I would cry and wail.”

Another said: “I hate people. For example, if you can’t be good at customer service and help me, why are you here?”

And a third added: “I would throw myself on the floor crying oh my god!”

There was a certain happy ending, however, when Claire finally made it to Ireland — albeit a few months later.

We previously reported that a woman was unable to leave Sydney on her flight to Bali because her passport was slightly damaged.

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TikToker Emma claimed she was told she would have ended up in a cell if she tried to enter Indonesian paradise.

And this woman broke down in tears after her vacation was canceled due to a small error in her passport.

The holidaymaker was in the process of loading her luggage when she was told she could not board


The holidaymaker was in the process of loading her luggage when she was told she could not boardPhoto credit: tiktok/@claireecowles

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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