My previous passport, after it was executed for being ineffective and unhealthy.

On Christmas night time I went to the airport with my spouse. We have been set to fly to Amsterdam, and can be spending the following eight days having fun with a festive trip in numerous cities in Holland and Belgium. Too unhealthy they didn’t let my dumb ass on the aircraft!

Right here’s a factor I didn’t know, and it’s one thing I hope to save lots of you from not figuring out in an identical manner: Should you’re flying to Europe and your passport expires lower than three months after your scheduled return date, you’re fucked! Some international locations even require a six-month buffer between expiration and return date. Which means daily scores of extraordinarily unhappy vacationers are despatched residence from the airport as a result of their passports, which haven’t expired, have successfully expired. I do know this occurs to lots of people as a result of I met a lot of them.

Right here’s what occurs whenever you get informed by the very good lady on the check-in counter which you can’t get on a aircraft as a result of your passport is not any good: she’ll ship you over to an equally good lady on the rebooking counter, to whom you’ll clarify your nightmarish ordeal as whether it is one way or the other novel. You’ll be shocked by how instantly she understands your predicament, and the way shortly she lays out your subsequent steps. She’ll guide you on a brand new flight leaving the following day, then let you know that it’s good to get to a passport company the place you may get an expedited passport earlier than your new flight departs. She’ll let you know that it’s good to convey your previous passport, a 2×2 picture of your face for the brand new passport, a printout of your new flight itinerary (to show that you just want the passport ASAP), and that you just’ll must get there very early. How early? She informed me that the passport workplace in Manhattan opens at 7:30 a.m., however she additionally informed me that folks begin lining up at 5:00 a.m.

After managing to discover a CVS that was open on Christmas night time and would print a brand new passport picture for me, I went residence and slept a couple of hours earlier than getting up early and arriving on the passport workplace by 5:15 a.m. After I bought there, eight folks have been already ready in line, all with the very same downside I had. By 6:00 a.m., the road had stretched across the block. By the point the doorways opened at 7:30, there have been a whole bunch of individuals, all bitterly chilly and depressed, ready to get an expedited passport.

And this occurs each rattling day. Critically, go learn the workplace’s Yelp web page, the place you can find years value of individuals sharing their tales and giving recommendation on when to get in line. The truth that sufficient folks want expedited passports daily in New York Metropolis to make lining up 2.5 hours earlier than the passport workplace opens commonplace apply means that not very many individuals know concerning the three- and six-month passport rule.

I hesitate to get too Fed Up about this—I’m not right here to bore anybody by shouting, “Shouldn’t the expiration date ON your passport truly BE the expiration date??!??” in Lewis Black’s voice—as a result of I’m positive there are completely good causes for the rule present. But it surely does appear to me that if the first objective of the NYC passport workplace is to service a whole bunch of spectacularly owned and clueless dopes like me daily, then the system isn’t fairly working.

I depend the true villain right here as Delta Airways, which requested for my passport quantity and expiration date after I booked the tickets final summer season, however didn’t present me with any form of warning concerning the three-month rule. It’s not stunning that an airline would dangle their prospects out to dry in these conditions—I gave Delta a really obscene amount of cash after I rebooked my flight!—as a result of that’s what an oligopoly does. 

Standing in opposition to Delta Airways are the individuals who work on the NYC passport workplace, who have been all extraordinarily useful and courteous. After my lengthy, frozen wait on the sidewalk, I bought by means of the applying course of in below an hour. I paid a $190 payment, and was informed that my model new passport can be prepared inside 4 hours. I went to a bar across the nook, ate breakfast and watched soccer, after which returned at midday to search out my passport prepared for me. I made it to the airport with loads of time to spare earlier than my four:30 p.m. flight. I managed to have a really good journey.

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