Christmas getaways are put at risk as Passport Office courier firm TNT says it has been swamped by post-Covid applications
Families’ winter getaways could be at risk this Christmas with the Passport Office’s courier service admitting it has been swamped by post-Covid applications.
Holiday-starved Brits have, over recent months, been warned they may face waits of up to 10 weeks for their new documents to be processed – more than triple that of the clearing period pre-coronavirus.
But even after the passports have been rubber stamped by civil servants, many are facing even further delays in actually receiving them.
Families’ winter getaways could be at risk this Christmas with the Passport Office’s courier service admitting it has been swamped by post-Covid applications
TNT, which won a three-year contract worth £77 million to transport passports in the summer of 2019, has been inundated with complaints over delivery dates frequently being pushed back.
Some desperate travellers who’d booked to fly abroad over the coming days have even driven from depot to depot to try and find their permits, according to the Times.
Calls to TNT’s customer service helpline also often go unanswered for hours, which has led some frustrated customers to set up a petition calling for an inquiry into the issue.
It reads: ‘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.’
Holiday-starved Brits have, over recent months, been warned they may face waits of up to 10 weeks for their new documents to be processed – more than triple that of the clearing period pre-coronavirus
The petition urges the government to look at what diligence was carried out before the deal was struck and asks why the company’s apparent failures have not been investigated.
A TNT spokesman told the Times that a backlog had been caused as a result of a surge in applications due to lockdown restrictions easing.
It added: ‘We are taking additional steps to provide timely delivery by adding additional resources to the operations. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’
The Passport Office said it was aware of reported issues and was working to establish the root of the problem.