A British woman vaccinated in France has told how she was denied boarding on a British Airways flight from the UK to Canada because her French vaccination certificate shows her maiden name while her passport has her married name.
France’s Assurance Maladie databases – from which vaccination certificates are generated in France – normally use women’s maiden names but depending on their nationality their travel documents will often show their married name only.
This particularly affects women who have a UK or US passport, which do not generally include mainden names in the case of a change of the name currently used.
Valerie Young, 69, received both of her vaccinations in France before returning to live in the UK in September.
Yesterday (November 1), Ms Young and her husband John, 73, were due to fly to Canada to visit family, who they had not seen for nearly three years.
“We arrived at Manchester Airport to travel with BA to Vancouver via Heathrow,” Ms Young told The Connexion.
“We were to be reunited with our two daughters and five grandsons. At the check-in we were told that because my maiden name on my vaccination certificate did not match with my passport we would not be able to fly.”
Depending on their destination country, some women who encounter issues with vaccination certificates and travel documents showing different names may still be able to fly if they take a pre-departure test and follow the restrictions imposed on unvaccinated people.
However, people who are not classed as fully vaccinated cannot enter Canada for “discretionary” or non-essential reasons.
Following a similar reader experience with BA on a UK-France flight, a spokesperson told The Connexion on September 15 that if a customer could show proof of a marriage certificate with their maiden name, they would be accepted for travel despite the discrepancy between the names given on their vaccination and travel documents.
“We did present my marriage certificate,” Ms Young said, “and the check-in person said she would ring Heathrow to [check] but we were still refused.
“The staff seemed unsure what to do and BA’s helpline just kept saying ‘try again later’ and we were left stranded at Manchester Airport.
“I finally got through to BA’s call centre at about 06:30 this morning and after explaining everything to the operator she told us that we were down as no-shows and will not qualify for refunds or vouchers.
“She told me that there is nothing that they can do.
“We have paid for flights, Covid PCR testing and transport and we are totally devastated that our dream trip is in tatters.
“We have suffered enough throughout this pandemic and now our glimmer of normality – being reunited with our daughters and grandsons – has been taken away by BA.”
Ms Young’s daughter Debbie Mcloughlin, who is a Human Resources at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver, described the situation as “stressful and frankly unacceptable,” “complete discrimination for married women who have received a vaccine in France.”
Mr and Ms Young had lived in Campagne-sur-Aude (Aude) for four years, but wanted to return to the UK to be closer to their family following the Covid pandemic.
During their journey to the UK on September 20, Mr and Ms Young travelled with Brittany Ferries “using the same documents and we did not encounter any problems at customs with my maiden name.”
The Connexion has contacted BA several times to determine why Ms Young was denied boarding despite having her marriage certificate to hand as per the airline’s previous stipulations. We have not yet received a response.
It is possible that the maiden name problem occurs less frequently on flights that are not to or from France, however we would expect the company to operate the same policy.