If you’re a follower of PassportInfo.com, you know to avoid the most common passport mistakes. You’ve learned which mistakes to avoid on your passport application. You know what not to do with your valid passport. You are careful to keep your passport safe from damage.
If only everyone knew as much about passports as you now do!
We’ve reviewed the news and found plenty of stories of truly unbelievable passport mistakes. Read on for tales of passport mistakes made by governments, airlines, and even travel experts!
Government Passport Mistakes
The vast majority of times, when new passports are issued, they are printed correctly. However, it does happen every once in a while that a mistake is made! We have seen passports issued with errors like misspelled names, incorrect expiration dates, and the wrong state of birth listed. If your passport is ever issued with an error, you can have it corrected free of charge within the first year after it is issued. But don’t delay! If you want to correct a mistake on a US passport that was issued more than one year ago, you’ll have to apply for a passport renewal instead and pay the full government fee.
Most passport mistakes are pretty mundane, but these printing mistakes were major enough to make the news!
Toddler’s Passport Issued With The Wrong Photo
A British mother took her story to the news after UK Passport Agency officials “laughed off” her concern that her son’s passport was issued with another boy’s photo on it. Lewis Killingworth, age 2, had been issued a passport with the photo of a different boy, who appeared to be at least two or three years older than Lewis!
After his mother made further complaints, little Lewis was issued a corrected passport so that he could join his family on a vacation to Spain.
Man’s Passport Photo Looks Like Hitler
Our next tale of passport printing errors also comes from the United Kingdom. British citizen Stuart Boyd applied for a new passport so he could take a trip to celebrate his 50th birthday. When his new passport was delivered, he was appalled to discover that the scanned photo printed on to his passport made him look like Hitler! Boyd is clean-shaven, but a printing error gave him what appeared to be a Hitler-like mustache.
Boyd contacted the Passport Office and was able to have a new passport issued free of charge… but only after he’d posted his passport photo to Facebook, and had his story picked up by the media!
Airline Passport Mistakes
When you travel, your passport will be checked by many authorities. It will be reviewed by TSA security agents, by immigration officials when you arrive in your destination country, and by US Customs and Border Patrol agents when you return home. But the very first authorities who will inspect your passport are airline agents when you check in for your flight. If your passport doesn’t pass muster with the airline, you won’t be allowed to board your flight!
Luckily, most of the time, airline staff are well informed about passport and visa regulations. Every once in a while, though, the airlines make a mistake when reviewing a traveler’s passport.
RyanAir Lets Man Fly with Young Daughter’s Passport
A British father flying from Stansted airport in London to Malaga, Spain, was allowed to board his RyanAir flight… even though he was carrying his 12-year-old daughter’s passport instead of his own! The problem wasn’t caught until he arrived in Spain and tried to go through immigration. Normally, someone arriving without a proper passport would immediately be deported and sent home on the next flight, but he got lucky. A friend who was traveling on his own to Malaga was able to bring him his own passport.
British Airways Denies Boarding to Man with Valid Passport
In yet another story from the United Kingdom, British citizen Toby Keen was not allowed to fly to France with his family because of a British Airways clerk’s misunderstanding of passport rules.
Mr. Keen didn’t expect to have any problems flying to France using his current passport, as it still had a bit less than three months before it expired. Although US citizens need to have six months validity on their passports to enter France, British citizens do not. As members of the European Union, all they need to enter another EU country is a passport that’s valid on the day of entry. However, the British Airways agent he encountered at London Heathrow Airport didn’t know that! He was denied boarding because his passport was too close to expiration, and he had to let his family fly on without him. He wound up losing several days of his trip because of the mix-up.
Even Travel Writers Make Passport Mistakes
Being a travel expert doesn’t prevent careless mistakes! We found several stories of travel writers making mistakes with their passports.
Travel Blogger Flies With Cancelled Passport
Jessica Festa, a travel writer for Yahoo, had recently renewed her passport and had received both her new passport and her cancelled passport. Since her old passport still had not reached its expiration date and had blank pages remaining, she decided to use it for her international flight to Curaçao. She didn’t understand that the holes drilled into her passport’s cover indicates that it is cancelled!
Amazingly, the cancelled passport wasn’t recognized by JetBlue agents or by TSA security officials at JFK airport in New York. Jessica flew all the way to Curaçao, where she was denied entry because her passport was not valid.
Wife of Famous Travel Guide Author Grabs Wrong Passport for Cruise
When we think about travel experts, few names are more famous than that of Arthur Frommer, the creator of Frommer’s Travel Guides. He recently wrote an article about a passport mistake made by his wife. Mr. Frommer and his wife had planned a trip to Canada, starting with a cruise of the Maritime provinces departing from Boston. As they hurried to leave their house, his wife grabbed her passport from the drawer where they store their passports… but the passport she grabbed was a cancelled one!
They were allowed to board their cruise, showing her driver’s license and a copy of her birth certificate. However, their trip included a flight home from Montreal, and she would not be able to board that international flight without a valid passport book. They wound up having to visit a US Consulate in Halifax, Canada to get her a new passport!
If expert travel writers can make passport mistakes, it shows that these mistakes can happen to anyone. But you know to be careful, to double-check your passport and the entry requirements for your destination!