It’s the traveler’s worst nightmare: opening your purse, backpack or money belt to discover that your passport has disappeared. Whether it’s stolen or lost and you may never know what happened to your little blue buddy your response should be the same: Act now! Yes, there’s a small chance that you’ll return to your room and find your passport under the bed. So get back to that hotel and search your room from corner to corner as soon as possible, and then contact your embassy if your passport is gone.
What to Do:
Contact the police and then your local embassy. You’ll have to show up in person at the embassy to apply for an emergency passport to get you back home. An emergency passport is only valid for a limited time, and once you are back in your country, you’ll have to apply for a new passport.
Before you leave home, pack the list of items you will need for getting an emergency passport. If you do not have everything you need, you may need to present an affidavit of identifying witness. This will be filled out by a fellow traveler, who can attest that you are who you say you are.
It’s unfair, your plane could be hours late, and you get no apology, discount or explanation. But if you are three minutes late, running to the gate just as boarding ends, that’s it – the plan’es not coming back to fetch you.
If you always arrive at the airport three hours before your flight and think that only last-minute Larry’s miss their flights, don’t skip this section as it could happen to you too. Events beyond your control, from problems at the security checkpoint to stormy weather, may mar even the best-planned itinerary.
What to Do:
Has your plane taken off without you? Immediately go to your airline’s desk. It is possible that your airline can get you on the next flight. Whether or not it will charge you will vary depending on which airline is involved and if the missed flight was your fault. If there are no other flights or the next flight is booked, try for the next day, or inquire about any available flights from your carrier’s partner airlines.
If your airline refuses to offer a voucher for another flight, get ready to pay up. Passengers who miss their flights sometimes must pay full price for a new ticket and prices are steep when it’s the day of or the day before your departure. Take this as a warning to always arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, especially around the holidays.
If you have missed a connecting flight and your luggage has been checked, it will most likely go on without you, so your suitcase may be en route to the Bahamas while you’re stuck in a chilly airport in Chicago. Go to your airline’s ticket counter and ask if it can locate your bags. The airline may be able to hold your bags until you arrive at your destination. This is just one of many reasons why you should pack a change of clothes in your carry-on when you fly.
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