Sedgley travel agent saves holiday for care worker in passport delays crisis

A travel agent has helped save the holiday of a care worker by tracking down her delayed passport.

Travel Agent Alicia Brown helped to track down a passport for a customer and save their holiday
Travel Agent Alicia Brown helped to track down a passport for a customer and save their holiday

Alicia Brown, a travel agent based at Your Co-op Travel in Sedgley, refused to allow her care worker client, Ellen O’Neil, to miss out on a much-needed family holiday when a new passport for her daughter was delayed in the post.

Alicia, who previously worked in a care home for three years as a care assistant to elderly residents and dementia patients, made 18 calls and spent hours on the phone, tracking down the missing passport so that her client and her family could make their holiday.

The customer, Ellen, bought the holiday to Tenerife in December 2021, for herself, her 16-year-old daughter Millie and her daughter’s boyfriend, departing on March 28.

Ellen realised in February that her daughter’s passport didn’t have the three extra months required for travel to the EU post-Brexit, so she applied for a new one.

She was told by the Passport Office that it would take about two weeks.

When the passport still hadn’t arrived three days before the holiday departure date, Ellen paid a £450 admin fee to move the flights to Easter Monday, April 18, but by Good Friday the passport was still not delivered.

On Saturday 16 April, Ellen received a text saying the passport would be delayed until the following Tuesday, so she postponed the holiday another two days, until the following Wednesday, at an additional cost of £200.

But on the Tuesday morning, Ellen called Alicia to say she’d have to cancel the holiday completely because she’d received another message saying the passport wouldn’t arrive until the Wednesday, after the flight had taken off.

Alicia knew Ellen’s passport would be in a local depot somewhere, so she rang the courier company’s head office and three local depots to find out which one had the passport so she could tell her client to go and pick it up in person.

Alicia said: "I found the telephone numbers for the courier company and tried to get the problem resolved, they were really unhelpful.

"I spent pretty much all morning on the phone, I think in the end they got fed up with me because when I told Ellen to call the depot again – it worked.

"She got an email giving her an address to collect her passport.

"I called Ellen that evening, she had Millie’s passport, and they made the flight the next morning.

“Ellen had totally given up on the holiday and I was devastated.

"I know how hard it is to be a care worker.

"I’d take working 15 pandemics in travel over one pandemic in a care home."

Alicia Brown has been with Your Co-op Travel for seven years, and she has worked in the Wolverhampton, Wednesfield and now Sedgley branches.

Ellen is based in Glasgow, so Alicia and Ellen have never met.

Ellen O’Neil said: "Alicia, and her colleague Annabelle at the Sedgley branch, helped me so much, first by changing my holiday dates and then by not giving up on my holiday when I almost had.

"Alicia did not stop trying to help, even on her days off.

"They are lovely, lovely girls and I now won’t book with anyone else.”

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