Traveller denied boarding over water-damaged passport
Published Thursday, September 3, 2015 9:37AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 3, 2015 9:43PM EDT
An Ontario woman was unable to board a plane when a ticket agent said her passport was too damaged to use.
Candice Wright was planning to fly to Cuba with a friend last month, but was halted when she showed up at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and presented her documents to a ticket agent.
"I was told my passport was not passable. They said it was too damaged," Wright told CTV Toronto's Pat Foran on Wednesday.
"It had fallen in the snow, prior and had gotten a little wet, but it had dried. She told me I must have put it through the washing machine, which was not true."
Wright said she hadn't replaced her passport because she felt it was in good enough shape.
"There was no ink running, there was no tears. It looked like it had been wet slightly on the top and that was it," she said.
She said she'd recently used the passport at a border crossing in Michigan, and it had been accepted without issue.
"Had the guard (crossing over either way) expressed concern, I would have replaced it immediately," she told CTVNews.ca.
She said her travel agent had also seen her passport before the Cuba trip, and never mentioned any issues with it.
Wright's friend, Nicole Tingey, flew out of Pearson by herself while Wright stayed behind to get an emergency passport. By the time she got to Cuba, she'd missed two days of her vacation.
The Government of Canada offers urgent and express service at some passport offices, but applicants must have proof of upcoming travel. They also face additional fees.
Air Canada told CTV Toronto that passports must be in near perfect condition in order to be accepted. Any damage could result in citizens being turned away or detained when they land at their destination.
"We are obligated by law to deny boarding to customers if their documents are deemed inadequate," the airline said in a statement.
A passport is considered damaged if it has been exposed to water, or has torn or removed pages. Boarding can also be denied if there are any unauthorized markings or information has been altered.