Fifi Box has just returned from her family holiday in Fiji, but has revealed it almost didn’t happen.
While at the airport check in, the radio presenter explained the airline initially wouldn’t accept her daughter Daisy’s passport because it had water damage.
“Got to the front of the queue, about to check in, got there early too, I was wrapped. But then the lady at the queue just said can I look at your passports,” the mum said on Melbourne’s 101.9 The Fox Fifi, Fev & Nick.
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“Then she grabbed one of them and walked off and I’m thinking ‘what’s happening?'”
Box said she’d made sure she had all her ducks in a row before heading to the airport in terms of all the travel requirements, so was shocked when the staff member returned and told her: “Unfortunately one of your passports is water damaged and that won’t be accepted”.
“It was Daisy’s. And at that stage I was so keen for this holiday,” she continued, adding she jokingly contemplated leaving her daughter behind.
“I looked at her and I was tearing up. It was like 5am in the morning because it was an early flight, I was like ‘I can’t deal with this’ and then she said hang on a second.”
After speaking to some more people the staff member returned with good news.
“She came back and said ‘if it was Bali no way, Indonesia won’t let you in with that passport, but Fiji will’,” Box explained, which meant the Fiji family holiday could go ahead after all.
It was a situation very similar to one our very own Bronte Gossling faced a few months ago – though with a less happier ending – when she was prevented from boarding the first flight out to Bali on account of a small mould mark on her passport.
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As Box was told at the airport, Indonesia is extremely strict on rules for passports and as a result Gossling’s trip was completely cancelled.
“My passport had become a casualty of Sydney’s rapidly-growing mould plague, and the resulting water damage meant my Bali dreams had gone up in smoke,” she wrote.
Reasons your passport could be deemed invalid
As airport staff explained to her at the time, if the Indonesian Government found her passport’s physical condition unsatisfactory, she could have been detained in Denpasar’s airport until the next flight out to Australia, which during the pared-down timetable at the time, that would have been 24 hours of detention. Airlines also risk a fine of US$5000 (approx. $6900) by Indonesian authorities for bringing a passenger into the country with a damaged passport.
Mould and water-damage seem highly likely issues affecting passports given the current, and re-occurring, deluge along the country’s east coast, but they are not the only issues that could render your passport invalid.
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According to Australia’s Passport Office, “normal wear and tear” on a passport is acceptable.
Not acceptable or deemed “normal wear and tear” is any cuts or tears in the pages –particularly the photo page – as well as any marks across your photo or in the Machine Readable Zone.
If your passport has less than six months left before expiration you won’t be able to travel internationally. Given current waiting times for new passports – more than eight weeks in many cases – renewing it as early as possible is definitely recommended.
Not having enough blank pages is another reason that you could run into some trouble. Some countries require one, two or three blank pages depending on how much space they need, with some visa stamps taking up to two pages.
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