Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Sun October 18 2015

Will Passport Damage Cause Travel Snags?

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | October 18, 2015

Will Passport Damage Cause Travel Snags?

Photo via Twitter/attntiondeficit

An unexpired passport isn’t necessarily valid. This was a lesson learned by Philadelphia newlywed Carly Baker when she was denied a seat on her honeymoon flight by US Airways over her less-than-pristine papers, Road Warrior Voices reported.

The State Department does say on its website that “normal wear of a U.S. passport is expected and likely does not constitute ‘damage,’” but as Road Warrior Voices pointed out, this is a case-by-case situation. What looks acceptable to one airport employee could be rejected by another.

And that’s what happened to Baker. The second US Airways rep thought the passport looked fine, however, as Baker said to Buzzfeed, this didn’t make any difference: “(The employee) tried getting her boss to override my restriction, but (her) boss clearly did not want to throw the first manager under (the) bus by putting an override on file over her first opinion.”

So the plane took off without the couple, costing them over $2,000 in honeymoon rebooking fees, Road Warrior Voices said.

An American Airlines (recently merged with US Airways) spokesperson gave Road Warrior Voices some details about the incident, stating, “The customer’s passport was damaged and the State Department does not permit us to allow passengers with damaged documents to travel. We explained to the passenger how she could quickly receive a new passport and have offered to waive all fees and rebook the passengers’ flights, extending their trip two days.”

Regarding specific issues with this travel document, the spokesperson said, “the agent noted damage to the biological page of the passport, including that the page was peeling.”

“The danger with allowing a passenger to travel with a damaged passport,” the spokesperson explained to Road Warrior Voices, “is that they may not be allowed entrance into the foreign country to which they are traveling and would be put right back on a plane to the U.S.”

Road Warrior Voices concluded, “In reality, there is no way to know whether the US Airways rep was doing Baker a disservice or a favor,” adding, “Passport control in foreign countries can be extremely strict.” 


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