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“Denied” boarding due to passport “damage”

“Denied” boarding due to passport “damage”

Old Nov 30, 21, 5:29 am
  #31  
 
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Because it is the airlines responsibility and cost if you are refused entry at the destination - I can see where he was coming from - it all depends on how bad the damage was. Was the chip functional?

I had a check-in agent slightly tear the photo page of my passport - still good for 5 years. I carefull put a little tape on it to merge with the plastic sheet covering the page from the other side - and travelled that way for a while - mostly through automated gates, but also with border agents. After a warning from a border agent overseas that it was torn and asking who put the tape on, I immediately replaced the passport.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 6:24 am
  #32  
 
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The damage appears to be mostly cosmetic in nature. Of course, the way damage is defined, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. All passports issued by the US now have a chip embedded. Most countries either use the chip or scan the 'bar code' at the bottom of the picture page. I suspect that the OP has been able to travel since neither of those have been damaged, thus the computers have been able to accurately read / scan the passport when entering / exiting. I suspect that had either of those parts been damaged, the OP would not have been able to travel, but since the passport can still be read electronically, they were permitted.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 6:52 am
  #33  
 
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A couple of thoughts on this. First, you were lucky that at ATL you were flying on Delta internationally on Delta metal, which is the only reason you could have done this. I was on a DL codeshare flight recently (KLM metal) and tried to check bags at DL domestic for the international flight and was told I can only do this at the international terminal even though it was DL codeshare flight. There are several other instances of this also I read about this on travel blogs once I checked this after the fact and have since learned my lesson. Riding the inter-terminal bus (outside security) is not a fun way to start a vacation. Second, Many years ago when I had a green card (plastic laminated by the issuer) I had an edge start to fray slightly (think 1/8" to 1/4" at most) and it as nowhere near the actual card itself. Going through DTW from TPE I hit CBP there and the border agent looked at my card and told me I needed to get it replaced as it was "damaged". To my own fault, I kind of filed it away in my mind. At that time I was traveling fairly regularly to Asia (one trip every 4 weeks or so) and used DTW as a gateway due to convenience for NWs flights. It must have been 2 trips later and I was coming through DTW CBP again, sleepy as usual from the 20+ hrs of travel coming back from SE Asia, and while waiting for the agent to process me I heard a voice say "I thought I told you to get this card replaced?" That woke me up, and I couldn't believe my luck to get the SAME CBP agent out of hundreds who work there. Needless to say he then put a note in the system and politely told me that if I came into the US again on that green card I would be detained and spend alot of time explaining myself. I went in to get my replacement card 2 days later. This was completely on me but something I thought was minor was obviously not for them. I think in ATLawyer's case the frustration is the DL agent over-riding what CBP said, which is the fact the passport was still acceptable. Unfortunately, regardless of the airline you find folks like this from time to time. Maybe a bad day or they just hate their job. Fortunately for me, most of the airlines I travel it is the exception and not the norm.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 7:40 am
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by sabbasolo View Post
I had a check-in agent slightly tear the photo page of my passport - still good for 5 years. I carefull put a little tape on it to merge with the plastic sheet covering the page from the other side - and travelled that way for a while - mostly through automated gates, but also with border agents. After a warning from a border agent overseas that it was torn and asking who put the tape on, I immediately replaced the passport.
I think most people would agree, once you start "doctoring" an official document, you are asking for issues.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 7:56 am
  #35  
 
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Several years ago I was almost denied boarding at a French airport as the agent claimed my (non US) passport was forged. He pointed to the difference in spelling of my name on the cover page and the machine readable strip on the bottom. Well, it turns out that sometimes letters from a foreign alphabet are replaced by an official alternate spelling. It was quite an effort to get him to call a supervisor before activating the foreign legion. The supervisor calmed him down and explained the situation. I did get on the flight.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 8:29 am
  #36  
mia
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I put a newly received passport in the washing machine. The covers separated from the first and last pages, no other damage. I glued them back together, and travelled with the passport for some years, until my glue started to fail. An immigration agent asked what had happened, I told my story, he explained that regluing the passport could be considered "tampering". The next agent also noticed, and at that point I had the passport replaced.

Point is that I did not see the cover as an integral part of the legal passport, but I was wrong.

Last edited by mia; Nov 30, 21 at 8:51 am
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Old Nov 30, 21, 10:11 am
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by jahason View Post
You can be denied boarding even if there is nothing wrong with your passport and there is nothing you can do about it. One passenger was in Tehran on a business trip and about to board the BA direct flight to London at Tehran airport. At the final security by BA the agent asked him "Where are you travelling to". This person (a Dutch national) replied flippantly "This flight is going to London, where do you think I'm going to?". The agent looked at his passport and told him that he thinks it might not be genuine and the passenger needs to get a letter from the Dutch embassy verifying that the passport is genuine. That passenger had to wait till after the weekend and get that letter before he could travel out again.

My husband was somewhere in SE Asia and the customs agent started asking him questions. The agents English wasn't good at all and he asked something like, "how did you come here". My husband said "on the plane". The agent asked several more questions, each verbalized a bit "differently" than it would be said by a native English speaker. The agent was getting furious and my husband was getting frustrated and I could see where it would sound like he was getting flippant but he was trying to answer questions that just didn't make sense. Fortunately, a supervisor noticed the situation getting a bit tense and actually apologized to my husband and sent him on his way. As my husband walked off he heard the supervisor say, "in English you would ask it this way. It doesn't make sense the way you're asking".

Sometimes, it's just a break down in translation. Perhaps the Tehranian was trying to find out where was his final destination, which is a question I'm often asked. I would have answered "where are you traveling to" with "My final destination is London. I'm on holiday and will be staying in the city centre" but only because it seems to be what they're always really asking but idk.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 10:17 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by jahason View Post
You can be denied boarding even if there is nothing wrong with your passport and there is nothing you can do about it. One passenger was in Tehran on a business trip and about to board the BA direct flight to London at Tehran airport. At the final security by BA the agent asked him "Where are you travelling to". This person (a Dutch national) replied flippantly "This flight is going to London, where do you think I'm going to?". The agent looked at his passport and told him that he thinks it might not be genuine and the passenger needs to get a letter from the Dutch embassy verifying that the passport is genuine. That passenger had to wait till after the weekend and get that letter before he could travel out again.
This sounds like an expensive abuse of power. Could the flight have been oversold?
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Old Nov 30, 21, 10:51 am
  #39  
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Three or four passports ago, the US PP agency was issuing pps with a LAMINATE over the picture page (most of the time), mine didn't have the laminate; they weren't securely affixing the picture either. After lots of border crossing with no issue I arrived by boat from Stockholm in Helsinki, no issue getting in, as I proceeded to the exit the immig. agent chased after me: "I just checked another US PP, your pp has no laminate also your picture is peeling off...", but I was allowed into Helsinki. On my rerurn to the USA (via EWR not my normal JFK entry) CBP noticed my pp's irregularity; I was directed to the pp agency on Varrick Street to get the laminate--they wanted to see my drivers license (first).
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Old Nov 30, 21, 10:54 am
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm surprised the first agent or supervisor didn't insert comments on the PNR or cancel the reservation so that the OP would have been prevented from checking in elsewhere. I suspect that a supervisor would also be able to flag the PNR/ticket to prevent boarding.
a US Air gate agent did that to me/my son back in 2009. Refused to check him in. So we took the non-carryon toiletries from his carry-on sized bag, and sent him to the gate solo...the BP was rejected bc she cancelled it in the system (as we learned when I demanded a refund later).
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Old Nov 30, 21, 10:59 am
  #41  
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At one time the "concept" of a totally "electronic" pp was supposed to be the "new norm"--that was MANY years ago. Now (nearly 2022) why isn't this EP being used?
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Old Nov 30, 21, 11:03 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
At one time the "concept" of a totally "electronic" pp was supposed to be the "new norm"--that was MANY years ago. Now (nearly 2022) why isn't this EP being used?
Many countries don't have ability to process such a thing. Issuing a PP with a chip has been hard enough for some.

We (US) still get stamps ebtering/exiting Schengen because there's (till next year) no system in place to electronically verify haven't over stayed in Schengen.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 12:10 pm
  #43  
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Originally Posted by TravelerMSY View Post
It sucks. Agents have wide latitude in interpreting the rules. Their goal is more to avoid government fines if you’re denied entry after they transport you, and some cultures are more rule-based than others.
I disagree on this particular issue. The OP admits their passport was, in fact, damaged. The airline is responsible for verifying documents before an international trip. Since assessing damage is difficult and Delta can be subject to a heavy fine if documents are not in order, I don't blame the agent for being overly cautious.

The OP can certainly complain, but the agent and the manager will say that the passport was damaged and that will be the end of the investigation.
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Old Nov 30, 21, 12:32 pm
  #44  
 
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I notice the OP hasn't come back to defend his indefensible "well I got away with it before" (I would love to hear that in court "well your honor I got away with speeding down that road every day for a year so I assumed the speed limit didn't apply to me!" )
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Old Nov 30, 21, 1:02 pm
  #45  
 
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My passport went through the wash once. The page with the bar code in the back had come partially detached from the back cover. Other than that there wasn't much damage. A few loose threads on the cover, but that was it. Later that year I was flying from Phoenix to Vancouver. The gate agent was asking people to come show their passports before the boarding process was to begin. She looked at mine and said that they weren't going to be able read it and was threatening not to let me on the flight. She talked to a supervisor who basically said the same thing. I was kind of freaking out since my husband and I were going on vacation and we had flown from New York. When boarding began I had no problem getting on the plane. I don't know why they changed their minds about letting me board, but I was relieved. In Vancouver there was no problem with my passport since the page with my picture was intact and the machine had no trouble with it.

I did another trip in 2017 through Phoenix to Vancouver and had no problems from the gate agent. In 2018 I was returning from a European trip through three countries, it wasn't until leaving Norway (the last of the three countries) when the immigration officer had trouble with my passport and said I really needed to replace it. I finally broke down and got a new one before heading to Iceland later that same year. I guess it's a matter of what is considered damage, and what the person looking at it decides. No more trips through the wash for my passport!
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