Lonely Planet Writer

Happy Christmas ending for German tourist turned away from Jetstar

A German man has arrived in New Zealand just in time to spend his first Christmas there with his girlfriend, after being refused the right to board a Jetstar flight due to the ‘unacceptable condition’ of his passport.

German passport.
German passport. CC BY 2.0

Andreas Hunter, a 26-year-old German national, was travelling from Phuket to New Zealand on Sunday when Jetstar staff would not allow him to board his flight as his passport was in an ‘unacceptable condition’. The somewhat ratty, very well-used document had had a workout recently, as Mr Hunter travelled to over 20 countries last month. And while he conceded it was ‘dog-earred’, Mr Hunter was adamant the identification details were clear and legible.

Mr Hunter wasn’t alone in thinking his passport was okay. Before departing on his trip, Mr Hunter checked whether he needed a new passport with the German Embassy, who reassured him the document was acceptable for travel.

But Jetstar staff disagreed. ‘The team was advised that the passenger should not be accepted for the flight until his travel document was replaced,’ a Jetstar spokesman told Daily Mail Australia. ‘All border control authorities would rightly expect proper and intact travel documents before granting admission into a country.’

In a fit of frustration, Mr Hunter took to Jetstar’s Facebook page to complain about the incident, lamenting the fact that he might miss Christmas in New Zealand due to Jetstar staff’s outright refusal to board him. Mr Hunter was not offered the chance to re-book a later flight through Jetstar, nor was he offered a refund for the flight he was prevented from boarding. All of which left Mr Hunter in a dire situation in the days leading up to Christmas.

Rest assured, this story does have a happy ending. After spending an additional night in Thailand, Mr Hunter was able to secure a seat on a flight to New Zealand with Singapore Airlines, who had no complaints about the condition of his well-loved passport. Nor, it must be said, did New Zealand’s border control staff. He has arrived at his destination just in time for Christmas.