‘My dream holiday is ruined because Passport Office call handlers are working from home’

Craig Shaw, 38, from Somerset, is in much the same situation awaiting a single pass for one of his children.

“We applied in February and are flying to Mallorca next week. If it doesn’t show up we’ll have £3,500 out of pocket,” he said.

Mr Shaw booked the trip for his wife and three children, aged nine, seven and two, ahead of the first national lockdown in March 2020. It will be their first time abroad in more than two years.

“The worst thing is how helpless we are. We are in limbo waiting for them to sort it out and we don’t have direct access to anyone to help us as we can only talk to people over the phone or online. I would happily make the five hour drive to the Liverpool passport office to speak to someone in person if it would make a difference,” he added.

“Passport personnel are at home and passing on the buck”

Sophie McDonagh, a 34-year-old school administrator from south London, lost around £1,000 on a family trip to Ireland which she was forced to cancel after her daughter’s passport renewal was delayed.

“We applied in early February but still haven’t received anything. You can’t get anyone on the phone, or they just hang up and say they’re too busy for anyone to talk to,” she said.

“We will be traveling back to Ireland later in the week to see the family for a memorial service celebrating the first anniversary of my uncle’s death, but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to go there either.”

Ms McDonagh said she now fears she may not be able to take a separate family holiday to Spain over the summer if the delays continue. “There is no accountability. Everyone you speak to is simply handing you to someone else who is handing you to someone else. They’re all working from home and just passing the buck,” she said.

Elsewhere, Hannah Brooks, 27, from Edinburgh, said she was forced to stay at home instead of taking a planned trip to Spain this week as she had been waiting for her passport to be renewed since early March.

“I lost around £250 on flights and had to use up my working holiday pay which I can’t get back now. I’m also going to Barcelona for the Primavera Sound music festival in June, so I’m worried about that too now. If I can’t walk, I’ll lose about 700 pounds,” she said. “It was a nightmare.” ‘My dream holiday is ruined because Passport Office call handlers are working from home’

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