The family travel from California to Japan had been planned for nearly six months. Bags were packed and the pre-dawn drive to the airport complete. At the ticket counter, four bags, a folding stroller and playpen were placed on the baggage transom. Printed out boarding passes were ready and passports handed over when the agent asked for the baby’s papers. The birth certificate wouldn’t do. Where was the 18 month olds passport?
It didn’t exist. “But we all went on a cruise in Mexico just a couple of months ago!” Unfortunately, airlines have different requirements. It may be different country by country but to re-enter the United States, the babe in arms needed his own passport.
The baby was not allowed on the airplane!
The stress and trauma lasted another day. They were lucky to be close to downtown San Francisco where a U.S. Passport Office granted an appointment the following morning. Within 24 hours they had the baby’s passport. It was an expensive, harrowing and unnecessary beginning to family travel that could’ve easily been avoided.
Unfortunately the scenario doesn’t always end as positively. Howard Josephs, a Customer Service Manager for the Los Angeles Passport Agency has seen his share of Passport woes. In the interview below from The Gathering Road Podcast, he speaks about how to avoid travel tragedies with expired passports, passport restrictions, what families traveling internationally need to know and much more.
Has your family had their own travel woes? How did you work it out?