Airlines should introduce online passport expiry checks in order to avoid passenger disappointment and missed flights as the demand for foreign travel increases, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Tipperary Senator Garret Ahearn said, “We’re facing into a period of huge demand for passport renewals unlike anything we’ve ever seen in recent years. While only 634,000 passports were issued in 2021 due to the pandemic, it is expected that demand will now soar with between 1.3m and 1.7m passports due to be delivered this year.
“Along with the increased recruitment of staff, I welcome Minister Simon Coveney’s confirmation that the Passport Office will recommence overtime in order to facilitate the operation of the office on a seven day basis – something which I recently called for in order to cater for the increase in applications.
“In addition to the increased demand, after almost two years of very little international travel there will inevitably be many people who forget their passports are out of date. We don’t want to see situations up and down the country where people have to cancel trips because of expired passports.
“In order to avoid this, people simply need a reminder to check their passports when they go to book their flights.
“If Aer Lingus, Ryanair and other airlines implement a system whereby people are asked whether their passports are still six months in date when booking flights, customers will have to dig out their passports and check them – serving as a reminder of when they’re due to expire.
“If people apply for passports earlier than they need them, they are more likely to be successful in receiving them in time with little to no stress. It would also relieve some of the burden off the Passport Office by decreasing the number of emergency and fast-track applications.
“I call on the airlines to come together and help customers, the Passport Office and the aviation and travel industries by putting this simple facility in place on their websites as foreign travel ramps up over the coming months”, concluded Senator Ahearn.