Airline's issues with passport end trip for B.C. man
A B.C. couple had to reschedule their tropical vacation and fork out an extra $1,000 after their airline took issue with a water-damaged passport.
Larry Caza spent Friday in the Surrey passport office, but he was supposed to be in Mexico on a trip with his girlfriend. They made it as far as the airport before a Sunwing airline employee put a halt to their plans.
"The girl looked at our passports, looked at mine, and then said, ‘I'm going to have to talk to the supervisor,'" Caza told CTV News.
"The supervisor came up and said, ‘You cannot travel on our airline with this passport.'"
His passport had water damage, but Caza says he'd just used it to cross the border into the U.S. by land. He even used it again after being sent home by Sunwing.
"People need to know that this is out there, that there seems to be a discrepancy between air travel and land travel with a Canadian passport," he said.
Caza and his girlfriend have now re-booked their vacation, but they're being charged a no-show penalty by their hotel and room rates have increased.
Sunwing says it could be fined thousands of dollars if one of its customers is denied entry into another country because of improper documentation.
"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," the company's Lawrence Elliott said.
Sunwing doesn't know why border officials didn't have a problem with the passport its employee rejected.
"There may be instances where identification is deemed to be acceptable -- one officer at a border crossing, whether it be the U.S. or another country, and another in the same shift possibly says no, that doesn't meet the regulations," Elliott said.
Passport Canada warns that people with damaged passports might not be allowed to cross the border or board a plane. Its advice is to apply for a replacement as soon as possible.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber