Oh my, what a close call! There are certain mistakes frequent flyers simply don’t make, or at the very least shouldn’t make — arriving at the airport three hours before departure, not taking laptops or liquids out of your bag in the US, and arriving at the airport with expired documents, for example. I’ll even be the first person to say “what an idiot” when someone shows up at the airport with an expired passport.
Well, I was nearly that idiot, or at least I take take blame for this, since it nearly ruined our trip. As I’ve mentioned a billion times before, we’re off to Asia on Saturday, and I’m excited.
For the past several months I’ve reminded my dad to check his passport expiration date, and he always assured me that his passport had plenty of life left in it. When I visited him last Friday he even verified, and mentioned that his passport was good through June of this year, so he’ll have to get it renewed soon. For some reason I didn’t think much of it at the time.
Fast forward to today. I called Cathay Pacific to change to row two for our YYZ-HKG flight, and the agent began rattling off all the requirements for our trip. Blah, blah, blah. I never listen to them, because it’s all obvious stuff. I didn’t want to be rude so I let her go through her script, up until the point at which she said “passports must be valid for at least six months from the start date of travel.” That caught my attention and my heart immediately started racing. Could I have made such a classic newbie mistake? Why didn’t I notice the first time my dad mentioned his passport was only good through June?
At this point I immediately started picturing the worst. Heck, I was already wondering what we would do with the 270,000 American Airlines miles that were about to be redeposited, since I figured we would have to cancel the trip.
Since my dad has a German passport he called the Consulate General in Miami, where he was able to schedule an appointment for a one year extension. That means he’ll be making the five hour drive (in each direction) to Miami on Thursday. Fortunately he’ll also be getting his passport renewed for another 10 years, which he’d have to do either way, so it’s not totally in vain.
Still, that was a close one. Had I not called Cathay Pacific to change seats and had the agent not rattled off the details I was hardly listening to, we would have shown up at the airport on Saturday and would’ve been denied boarding. Can you imagine how much of an idiot I would’ve felt like?
Sometimes I wonder whether I’m really losing it….