Christmas holidays may be cancelled due to passport delivery nightmare – ‘shambolic’

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Britons may be dreaming of winter sun and of jetting off overseas for the Christmas holiday. But winter holidays could be in jeopardy due to passport delivery issues.

The Passport Office’s courier service has admitted there could be delivery issues this winter, which would stop Britons for being able to travel.

The Office was inundated with applications post-Covid and the reported delays in receiving travel documents are not inspiring a lot of confidence in Britons.

The Passport Office has warned applicants it could be 10 weeks for new passports to be processed.

And that’s only for the passports to be approved.

The 10 weeks delay does not include delivery.

This could leave Britons waiting for their passports with delays for both the processing of their application and the delivery of their documents once approved.

Especially since one of the issues with passport deliveries is currently the firm handling deliveries.

There is even a petition against the current service.

FedEx-owned TNT is handling the deliveries and was awarded a three years contract worth £77million in 2019.

The lucrative contract is for the firm to deliver new and renewed passports.

However, it seems to have failed, with the Passport Office reportedly using alternatives such as Royal Mail.

And Britons waiting for their passports are also starting to seethe.

The issue is so bad some desperate Britons are driving from depot to depot to try and find their passports before they are due to fly abroad.

TNT’s customer service helpline, meanwhile, is reportedly often left unanswered.

On Twitter, Steve Baron resumed the issue he’s encountering: “Just Eat: 20 minutes Amazon: Next day TNT Passport Delivery: Who knows… Maybe never?”

And Debra Michael said: “TNT have failed to deliver my passport three times. You wait an hour in a queue to speak to people who make assurances they can’t keep. They have had my passport a month and I still have no idea where it is.”

Tony, meanwhile, was about to miss his holiday: “TNT said they would deliver on the 11th November, but every day they fail and just push the date back a day. What are you doing about this shambolic service? I may miss my holiday if this continues for another week.”

And there was a mix up for Becky Collins: “You sent my son’s passport to the wrong address. After being on the phone three times for an hour the line simply goes dead. I have DM over a week ago with no response. What a Mickey Mouse outfit. I wouldn’t trust you with my rubbish.”

Complaints about delays are piling up against TNT and hundreds of customers have joined forces and started a petition for the issue to be looked into.

The petition says: “In recent months thousands of us have experienced significant delays in getting our passports delivered.

“Many have had to cancel their travel plans as a result and lost out on hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

“Unlike many other couriers, TNT do not seem to provide real time tracking, nor can you provide delivery instructions.

“People have experienced numerous failed delivery attempts, others have had their delivery date continuously pushed back with no end in sight.

“Some have even had their passport or application supporting documents lost by TNT.”

A FedEx spokesperson said: “As COVID-19 restrictions have continued to ease, HM passport applications have increased. This has resulted in a significant increase in the items to be delivered through our dedicated HMPO network.

“For some customers, this has meant an extended delivery service from what would normally be a two-day service. 

“We fully understand the importance of these shipments to our customers and are taking additional steps to provide timely delivery by adding additional resources to the operations in the UK. We’re also working closely with HMPO to ensure recipients are informed of potential extended delivery times.

“We are also aware of some additional reported issues from customers related to missed deliveries and we continue to work closely with HMPO to resolve these.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’’  

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