Sunday, February 22, 2009

Expired Passport and a Ticket to Greece in 8 Hours!*$@

For 48 hours I worked diligently to get ready for a trip to Athens Greece this week. As a mom and business owner it's not a simple task to go away anywhere, never mind a this far away. I emailed the itineraries, the medical releases, called the schools, notified my clients, and arranged for everything...everything but one minor detail!

At 11:24 am the day of my trip, I ducked into my home from the garage office to use the facilities, as I ran quickly, my husband called out "it's important come here." I ignored him like any good wife of many years, and strolled over a few minutes later. He shows me my passport that expired in May and says "do you have another? I've searched and can't find it." I didn't see the telltale hole punches in the passport that they give to expired ones, and my heart sunk. "No - I don't - Oh my God!" No panic, just amazing disappointment and functionality ensued. I knew what had to be done, and thanked my lucky stars that we were flying out of LAX. My husband knew what had to be done as well, and contacted the US Passport agency - fortunately LA is one of the 6 regional centers that can do passports quickly (but they didn't say in hours).

Did I mention I hadn't started to pack for my trip to Athens? Nor had I showered! Gone to the bank? Had new passport photos taken? Post office? Picked up my boots that needed a new zipper or returned my overdue library books or movie? Yes, we did all these things, and kissed our youngest daughter goodbye, and by 1:30 pm were on the road for a 2 pm passport appointment a mere 70 miles away...we have never been such fools! What were we thinking?

I walked in to the US Passport office at 2:45 pm on a Friday afternoon. They close at 3 pm. I have never encountered nicer people in a government office. They were helpful and compassionate. Apparently it usually takes 2-3 hours to get a passport in person. I had mine before 4 pm!!! By 5 pm I was comfortably settled in the Admiral's Club at LAX courtesy of my husband's status as platinum (international flights, the club is complimentary), and paid my upcoming bills online... By 8 pm after a little delay...we were eastward bound.

My advice for booking international travel:

1. Check your passport
2. Check your passport
3. Check your passport
4. When you realize your passport is expired, do not pass go, just go get it.
5. Remember to pack your medicine and glasses in your carry on luggage! Where the heck did I leave that bag of stuff? The kitchen table maybe?

See my next post for more on Greece, and hopefully getting medications while in Greece (waiting for Monday).

1 comment:

mary ann said...

I was not so lucky... Realized on Saturday morning that my son's passport had expired for a trip we were making the next day(Sunday). We called the 24 hour passport helpline but were told that passport offices were closed on weekends and would only open on Monday. Tickets had very high penalties attached. So, ended up loosing a lot of $.