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Sydney woman banned from boarding Jetstar flight to Bali due to damaged passport

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The bizarre rule that could completely ruin your next holiday: Why an Australian woman was not allowed to board her flight to Bali – and it’ll make you double check your passport

  • Bali has welcomed back international travellers for the first time in two years 
  • Bronte Gossling was hoping to fly to holiday island hotspot on Monday
  • Was unable to board due to water damage on the photo page of her passport
  • Sydneysider has shared her story so other Aussies don’t make the same mistake

A Sydney woman has had her first overseas holiday in two years ruined before getting the chance to leave the country due to an issue with her passport.

Like many Australians, Bronte Gossling was excited about heading to Bali this week after international borders recently reopened for the first time since early 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news producer flew from Sydney to Melbourne hoping to board a Jetstar flight to the popular holiday island destination on Monday, the first flight between the two countries in two years.

But a problem arose at check-in when airline staff advised she would be unable to board due to ‘a little bit of water damage’ on the photo page of her passport. 

Bronte Gossling (pictured on a previous trip to Bali ) was hoping to end her international hiatus on Monday

Bronte Gossling (pictured on a previous trip to Bali ) was hoping to end her international hiatus on Monday

‘I presented all of my documentation, presented a negative PCR test and I had my international Covid vaccine certificate and I thought everything was okay, she told 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham on Tuesday.

‘I handed over my passport and the clerk at the Jetstar desk said ‘I can’t let you onto the flight’ and he pointed to my photo identification page and there was a bit of mould there.’

‘He told me that customs in Bali wouldn’t let me through with this photo page being water damaged and I was shocked.

‘I couldn’t believe it.’

She admitted Jetstar staff at the airport were ‘lovely’, despite preventing her from flying.

‘It’s kind of a known thing but not really that if you have damage that isn’t considered the normal wear and tear, customs in Indonesia may not let you through,’ Ms Gossling said.

Some mould on Bronte Gossling's passport (pictured) prevented her from boarding the flight to Bali

Some mould on Bronte Gossling’s passport (pictured) prevented her from boarding the flight to Bali

‘If they don’t let you through, you’re going to be detained at the airport until the next possible flight home and in this case, because the flight schedule isn’t as frequent as it was pre-pandemic, the next flight back to Australia was 24 hours later.’

For the last few year, Ms Gossling has stored her passport in a drawer and believes the mould was caused by recent heavy rain and high humidity.

Fordham was keen to share Ms Gossling’s story to make other Aussies planning to head overseas aware and to double check their passports for any potential damage beforehand. 

‘If this was me, I would have never ever have guessed this would be a problem because it doesn’t look like any significant damage,’ he said.

Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (pictured on Monday) has welcomed back international passengers for the first time in two years

Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (pictured on Monday) has welcomed back international passengers for the first time in two years

Ms Gossling estimated it has cost around $4,000.

She understands why she wasn’t allowed to board and is glad she didn’t get on the plane.

She plans to head to Bali as soon as she gets a new passport.

‘If they had let me board that flight with my ‘dodgy’ passport, my fate could have been much worse than losing out on the $750 return flights to Melbourne, my $600 accommodation in Melbourne, the $1000 return flights to Denpasar, a $1500 all-inclusive suite at The Westin Resort in Nusa Dua, my $79 PCR test, $50 Visa on Arrival, costs of two further PCR tests and more,’ Ms Gossling wrote in an article for 9Honey.

‘If there’s one thing that can come of my ill-fated attempt at dipping my toes into international waters for the first time in two years, it’s the knowledge I’ll never make the same mistake again. And my new passport will be kept in nothing shy of mint condition.’

Fully vaccinated Australians can visit Bali again (pictured, Seminyak Beach on Saturday night)

Fully vaccinated Australians can visit Bali again (pictured, Seminyak Beach on Saturday night)

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