December 17th LAX – 4:30 pm.
Note: what follows is an incident that can be avoided. Make sure you verify the status of your passport before you travel (or at least bring the right one). Don’t let this happen to you!
Packed, house closed up, dog at boarding kennel, our family shows up at the airport on December 17th for our flight to Germany to pick up our river cruise.
No small matter that I had in my hand our boarding passes for NWA that I had printed out the night before and gave them passport numbers and emergency information.
Keep in mind I am a travel agent and have been in this business for almost 20 years, I travel all the time and my family has been around the world and back a few times. We are not novice travelers.
Up to the counter, three tickets go through mine doesn’t. Counter lady, rude as can be says, “your passport is expired, you can’t go, please get out of line”. OMG…after my head cleared, she is right. I grabbed my expired passport. The passport that I keep in the same drawer (first mistake) that I look at periodically bringing up great memories of each stamp on the pages.
Note, the website where you enter your emergency info and passport number 24 hours before boarding, will take any number you give, will not knock out a expired number.
I won’t bore you of how I broke down and sat on the floor in the middle of the airport on my cell phone to American Express. How my family continued on with their journey and I had to return home to a cold empty house. Shockingly our flight was scheduled to leave 15 minutes early which made it impossible to get my valid passport to the airport in time.
I flew the next day, only seat available was business class with one day notice. No miles no nothing. The price I paid will never pass my lips as it is obscene. Yes I missed a hotel night, yes I missed a private tour I had set up. But I did plan the “day early” routine which I always suggest to my clients just in case.
Get out that thick black marker, X out your old passports, put a rubber band around them, put them in another drawer. Anything to avoid my nightmare.