I was fined £950 as soon as I landed on holiday – but it wasn't my fault and it could happen to you too | The Sun

A TRAVEL influencer was fined almost £1,000 over a simple mistake on a recent trip to Australia.

The woman insists it wasn't her fault, but said she had to fork out anyway.

Lays Laraya, who posts travel content online as Skywardsfreak was flying from Qatar to Perth when she got into trouble over a gift she had been given by airline staff.

After writing notes to show her appreciation to the airline staff and pilots on her flight, she was given a single rose in return as a token of grattitude.

However, the kind gesture would go on to get her into trouble, as it was in violation of Australia's strict rules around bringing plants into the country.

Lays told Insider that she had filled in her landing card, declaring that she had no plants with her.

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She assumed that the rose didn't count because it had been handed to her by airline staff.

She said: "It didn't pass through my mind that the rose was within the category of those plants that they would be looking for.

"So my mistake, I checked 'no' and that was their accusation in the end."

Despite explaining the situation to border staff, she was still made to pay $1,878 AUD (£955.36) for the trouble.

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She continued: "If I knew I was doing something wrong willingly, I would have thrown it away before I had the opportunity."

It turns out that the fine was so big because of Lays' declaration that she had no plants with her.

Had she declared it on her landing card, the penalty would have been much smaller.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry told Insider: "If a person fails to declare goods of a kind known to pose a high level of biosecurity risk" and provides false information, the infringement notice increases from a couple of hundred dollars to the $1,878 AUD fine.

"All travellers coming to Australia must be aware of Australia's strict biosecurity requirements and the penalties for not complying with those requirements," the department spokesperson added.

The rules are part of the country's Biosecurity Act, which aims to prevent non-native plant and wildlife species being introduced to their ecosystem. where they could have catastrophic circumstances.

There are strict rules on bringing wildlife, certain foods and even camping equipment into the country as part of the act.

Lays said the experience has left her worried about returning to Australia in the future, saying that it "shakes my trust in the soundness of the approaches of the country".

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Meanwhile, these extra airport charges are being added to holiday bills.

And these are the ways budget airlines sometimes try and charge passengers extra at the airport.

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