A father’s “romantic vacation” plans are derailed after he is arrested in Croatia for accidentally boarding his flight using his stepdaughter’s passport.
David Chadwick, 57, was looking forward to a good getaway when he boarded a Ryanair flight from Manchester to Croatia for a five-night vacation with his wife Alison, 46.
However, when he was detained by border guards after landing at Zagreb airport, David made the shocking discovery that he had brought his stepdaughter’s passport by mistake.
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With only his 21-year-old stepdaughter’s passport and no personal identification, David was held in a cell at Zagreb airport for his entire vacation, the Liverpool Echo reports.
He was then escorted to his original flight home and taken by border officials at Manchester airport, who confirmed his identification based on his passport and driver’s license photos on his phone and let him go home.
Senior International Clinical Manager David, who lives in England with his wife Alison and stepdaughter Katherine, said: “I was just heartbroken and embarrassed at the same time.
“I pride myself on never having the wrong things in hand luggage and always having the correct documentation, so I couldn’t believe it had happened. I think our faces said it all. I accept that it’s partly my fault for picking up the wrong passport “. , but one would think that after 9/11, I would not have been able to board a plane with a female name and a picture of my daughter!
“When I finally got back to the UK, the border force at Manchester airport couldn’t believe I arrived in Croatia on the wrong passport. Most stumped was the British consulate in Zagreb as to how I had managed to get to Croatia in the first place.
“This was a much needed break for both of us – my wife is an NHS nurse who worked throughout the pandemic while I worked in clinical research, but I spent the whole time in a cell. It was devastating.”
Both David and Alison were looking forward to their five-day romantic break together after working tirelessly during the pandemic.
Opening the coffee table drawer in his living room on the morning of his flight on April 24, David took the two passports inside without checking them.
She didn’t realize at the time that she had picked up her stepdaughter’s passport instead of her own, which was still in her laptop bag from a work trip two weeks earlier.
David had to stay in a small cell during his entire vacation at Zagreb airport, while Alison lived in the Airbnb apartment they had booked for their trip before the airport disaster.
David said: “The police officer in Zagreb was very nice – he tried to take us straight to a flight home when he realized the mistake but as you can imagine no other airline would take me without a valid passport.”
“She had to break the news to Alison that she would have to go into Croatia alone because she needed to lock me up.
“I was locked up on Sunday, and he was nice enough to let me out of my cell for five minutes when he was on duty on Tuesday, and then I was released on Thursday and sent home.
“The owner of the Airbnb apartment we rented was also absolutely brilliant – she waited for Alison to arrive, then stayed and had a drink with her to calm her nerves. She also called her every day to make sure she was okay.”
The unfortunate father claims Ryanair failed to help him after he called for help on his cell phone, and has not heard from the airline since finally returning home on April 28.
The UK Foreign Office had spoken to the Zagreb police on his behalf to try to obtain the emergency documentation, but as David was unable to enter the country there was no way for him to collect the documents.
Now relieved to be home but saddened to have missed out on a much needed holiday, David said: “I am extremely disappointed not to have seen what seemed to be a beautiful country.
“It saddens me that my carelessness has caused some people to be so worried about me, causing them more stress than they deserve. As you can imagine, the entire time I was detained, my wife clung to the idea that I might be released, but she spent our five days of vacation alone.
“Alison and I had to use WhatsApp voice notes and images to communicate – we couldn’t physically speak to each other like the one time we did, we were both too upset to continue the conversation.
“[My stepdaughter] she was so worried when we told her: her mother in a new country and her stepfather in a cell. Not the kind of pressure you’d want to put on a 21-year-old. I will definitely return to Croatia in the future – the police officer and the owner of the Airbnb apartment showed how friendly Croatians are.
“I’ll make sure I have the correct passport next time!”
A Ryanair spokesman said: “This passenger was detained by the Croatian authorities on arrival in Zagreb, after his flight from Manchester (April 24) for not traveling with his own passport. It is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure that he has a passport. correct and valid. passport to travel.
“Our airport support agents allowed this passenger to board incorrectly and we have liaised with our Manchester support agents to ensure this error is not repeated.”
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