My Cautionary Tale

Last year my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. (Because I got married young, not because I’m ancient!) We had talked for years about going to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas and decided that for this anniversary we would splurge. We got ourselves some fancy new passport cards, packed our bags and headed off with the kids on a late-night flight across the country.

We were in high spirits as we prepared to board the plane for the last leg of our trip. The flight attendants advised everyone to pull out their passports along with their boarding passes.

And that was when the unthinkable happened: they pulled us to the side and told us we couldn’t get on the plane.

I was sure I had heard them wrong. Right up until the moment when the plane pulled away from the jetway I thought someone would admit that this had been a cruel joke, that they’d made a mistake, anything to keep this dream vacation from slipping away.

But, no. We were stranded in Atlanta, all because we had the wrong passports. (Note to future travelers: passport cards are only good for travel by boat or car, not by plane. This would have been good information to have when we APPLIED for the passports, not when we were trying to board the plane!)

Fortunately, my husband works in customer service and thinks quickly on his feet. (I was busy trying to comfort the kids and not have a meltdown myself.) The airline apologized profusely and said they shouldn’t have let us board in Los Angeles when they saw our passports and our final destination. They told us to pick another spot and they’d fly us there, as well as give us vouchers to fly again within the year. My husband was able to transfer our resort reservation to a place that he figured would make the kids nearly as happy. And at that point, I was too frazzled to care where we landed. An hour later we were on our way to Orlando, Florida, where we wound up having a wonderful time.

It took a LONG time for the shock to wear off from that aborted vacation. (Side note to the lady at the post office who “helped” us get those stupid passport cards: I can finally say that I’ve forgiven you without gritting my teeth. Barely.) And now, just over a year later, we’re ready to try it again.

We’ve packed our bags, cashed in our vouchers, and gotten the CORRECT passports. Although I can guarantee you that each of us will be holding our breath when we go to board the plane in Atlanta. Please let us on this time. Please don’t break our hearts again.

I won’t be posting next week. I plan to spend a lot of time going down waterslides that shoot me through shark tanks, snorkeling, eating, watching the sunset over the ocean. And reading and writing, of course. You know, assuming I actually get there this time.

Cross your fingers for me…

15 thoughts on “My Cautionary Tale

  1. A) HOLY COW I don't think I would EVER forgive that “helpful” lady. WTF.

    B) I have never even heard of passport “cards.” Wtf?

    C) Glad y'all managed to salvage the trip, and even gladder that you're going on the real one now! 🙂

  2. I've never heard of a passport card. Last year I took my kids to the post office to get their passports. They were strict. And said the passports may not go through because a few of us were smiling in our photos. Seriously. Luckily they went through (and then we went to Atlantis! SeriouslY)
    One of my favorite places to vacation. I hope you all have a super fabulous time. You AND your kids will LOVE it!

  3. What the heck, passport cards??? I'm sorry that happened to you, but I'm glad the vacation was saved in the end. I'm sure things will be fine this time around. Have double the fun to make up for the last time! 😀

  4. What ARE passport cards? And where can you go with them?

    You are right — somebody should've explained what you were getting and what you could/couldn't do with them.

    Another example of someone putting their whole 1% into their job …

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