Larry Caza and his girlfriend just wanted to spend Christmas somewhere warm. So, the Canadian couple booked a tropical vacation in Mexico over the holidays. Unfortunately, Mr. Caza’s passport was water-damaged, and when they arrived at the airport airline employees refused to let them on the plane. He described what happened in a report on CTV News: “The girl looked at our passports, looked at mine, and then said, ‘I’m going to have to talk to the supervisor. The supervisor came up and said, ‘You cannot travel on our airline with this passport.'”

The couple was able to reschedule, but their tropical getaway will now cost them an additional $1,000 after flight change fees and hotel fees.

According to CTV News, Mr. Caza believed that his passport was in good enough condition to use despite the water damage because he had recently used it to drive across the border into the US. The moral of the story: if your passport is damaged, whether or not you can use it is always going to be a bit of a crapshoot. Obviously if it’s totally torn up you won’t be able to use it at all, but if it’s only slightly damaged whether or not you can use it to get to the next phase of journey is up to the individual airline employees and border control officers you encounter.

Company spokesman Lawrence Elliott explained that the airlines have an extra incentive to be careful about letting people with damaged passports on board. He told CTV News, “All governments of the world download the responsibility for proper documentation onto the air carriers, and frankly we have no choice but to download that responsibility on the individual travellers.”

It’s best not to take chances. If your passport is damaged, go ahead and get a new one. The money you’ll spend on a replacement passport is nothing compared to the money you’ll lose if you have to cancel or reschedule your trip.

Using is the easiest way to get your damaged passport replaced in a hurry. We walk you through the application process and personally deliver your paperwork to the Department of State for the fastest possible processing.

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