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Passport Covers

Discussion in 'Airlines' started by Joshdent, Jun 15, 2017.

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  1. Joshdent

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    I know this problem isn't as serious as most of the issues reported on this forum, but I wanted some feedback.

    My family and I (a total of 5) were checking in at the Air Canada desk in Ottawa and checking our bags. The agent asked for our passports, and I opened each of the passports to the identification page and stacked them and handed over the stack. The passports were each in a passport cover. I keep them in a passport cover to give some general protection. In addition, each of the passport covers is a different bright color so when I need a specific passport it is easy to tell which one is which right away without opening them each until I find the right one. The agent refused to accept the passports because they were in a passport cover. When I started to question this, the agent said the passports need to be out of the passport cover. If I insisted on keeping them in the passport cover, he said that HE would have to take them out of the covers and he doesn't have time to take them out gently and if there is any damage that HE causes then we wouldn't be able to use it to fly and he wouldn't be responsible and that wouldn't be something we wanted now, would we? So, of course, I took them out of the covers.

    We flew home uneventfully and lived to tell our tale. So my question is, was the agent an overreaching control freak or has anyone else experienced this? The reason I ask is that it is only recently that I started using the passport covers, and again, it certainly isn't the end of the world if I can't use them but it actually puts more stress and strain on them to take them in and out of the covers every time we check in (they are made to fit snuggly so they don't come out so easily), so that if a majority of the time they are not accepted then I just won't use them and avoid the drama and inconvenience.
     
    #1
  2. VoR61

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    An interesting question, and a good one I think. Looks like you are not alone:
    For that many, I would suggest a GPS zippered hard cover (or something similar) and re-purpose it.

    I just checked ours (for a 5" GPS) and 5 passports would fit perfectly. Also, for our travels I use a leather shoulder bag to hold our small electronics and medicines, and passports. Works great for us ...
     
    #2
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
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  3. jsn55

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    Overreaching control freak? Josh, you made my day. Yes, of course the agent was that ... quite a nice way to put it I think. Air Canada ... gotta love 'em. I know that a police officer will ask you to remove your license from your wallet before handing it to him/her, but that makes sense. The passport cases are made to protect the passports (and I love your differing colors for the family) and are tailored so all the information is easily seen. Obviously do not need to be removed when checking for a flight.

    Airline employees are a different breed ... I am especially fascinated by the different things that flight attendants do or don't do, all in the name of ordering you around because they CAN. I'll wager that nobody else will ever bother you about the covers.
     
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  4. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    They are supposed to be taken out of the passport covers when handed to the agent. The agent is absolutely correct. They do not have time to take them out for you.
     
    #4
  5. mmb

    mmb

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    I've had this happen occasionally but most of the time being left in the cover is no problem for the agent.
    So I would say it just depends on if you get an agent who is a stickler for the rules.
    I continue to use the cover and take it out when asked but I am only in charge of one passport and I just take the passport out if asked. The cover is not tight and has a snap closure and other pockets to hold other items as well (drink coupons, my Global Entry card, boarding passes, etc) so I continue to use it.
    Makes it easier to find in my large tote also, it is bright red+blue.
     
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  6. George M

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    It would make sense that the passport needed to be examined in its entirety, including the front and back covers. Also, with the advent of electronic chips and who knows what else, perhaps the cover is thought to interfere with a scan. Still, the "...not my job,man..." attitude of the overreaching control freak bugs me.
     
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  7. Just A Guy

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    Passports are machine-readable - those numbers and letters on the bottom of the picture page, for example. Many airlines have devices on the agents' keyboards at checkin like a credit card reader, and the passport page bottom is swiped through to enter the info. Can't do that if they're in cases.

    If you want to easily be able to tell one passport from another, just put a small sticker on the back.
     
    #7
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  8. Globetrottingal

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    I agree with Just A Guy. There was a story here a while back of someone who left his passport in the cover, and it was damaged when the passport officer tried to swipe it through his machine. I travel with a brightly-colored passport cover, but I remove the passport for the officer.
     
    #8
  9. kenish

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    Customer-facing employees are often monitored for adherence to policy and procedures, especially new hires in their probationary period.
     
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  10. Christina H

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    Kenish has a good point. Time for a terrible confession. I usually try to avoid those that look new to the job just for this reason. If my luggage is 1 or 2 pounds over the weight limit (has happened oops) it is the juniof emloyees that are most concerned and the more senior ones are less rigid. I understand this as newer employees are often on probation.
     
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  11. George M

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    I've never thought of using more seasoned employees -- good suggestion -- but I always look for someone who is smiling or seems to be in a good mood. If the check-in person hollers "Next" with a scowl on her/his face I pretend to fumble with my luggage or boarding pass and let the person in back of me go ahead. If they're all in bad moods and oozing attitude then everyone is out of luck.
     
    #11
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  12. sas80

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    lol, whatever the airport people want, my reply is always YES and it happens with priority. I just want to get to my destination!

    You need me to bark like a dog, YES
    You need me to hop on one foot while barking like a dog? No problem!
     
    #12
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  13. jsn55

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    Such a refreshing take on being ordered about when flying. What do people care if the agent asks/tells them to do 700 different things for no apparent reason? Like SAS, I just DO it, whatever they want. I'm interacting with this agent for maybe ten minutes, usually two or three, so if ordering me around floats their boat, I'm all for it. I'll never see this person again, their requests/orders are of no importance, my main goal is to get through the system and onto the plane. I have had few issues in my travels ... I give the credit to being friendly and treating them like humans instead of people there to serve me.
     
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  14. Joshdent

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback!
     
    #14
  15. Michelle Bell

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    If an agent asks you to do something illegal, unethical, or immoral, you should absolutely refuse, ask for a supervisor or the airport police, and stand your ground. But taking your family's passports out of their covers? That's the battle you want to choose to fight with someone who could remove you from a flight because you refused to follow the airline's rules? This seems counterproductive.

    As for HIM being a control freak, you have no idea if he had previously removed someone's passport from a "snugly fitting" passport cover and accidentally damaged the passport (or a passenger claimed he did) and he was just trying to protect himself from another issue. And try to think of it from his perspective: Perhaps he thinks YOU are being a control freak because you refused a request that he's required to make.

    Some people also keep money and other valuables in their passport covers and nothing prevents them from accusing an airport employee from stealing something. I've actually seen that happen while checking in for an international flight several years ago.

    I'm not saying EITHER of you is actually a control freak, but it seems we don't always think of the other person's position or situation before we make judgements about them.

    For the record, they won't let you give them your driver's license for a domestic flight while it's still in your wallet either, and they will make you take it out because they're not allowed to touch your wallet.
     
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  16. sas80

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    And the truth is, if they decide they don't like you for ANY reason, they can legally make your life a bit o hell for a brief period of time.....but that 'brief period' will probably be just long enough for you to miss your flight.

    Extra security screen? Pat down? slow and thorough search of your luggage? Sit and wait while we 'run your information'?

    Not worth it. The moment I enter an airport, I am in the beginning-of-the-relationship, infatuated, romantic, puppy LOVE with all airport staff and would do anything for them.
     
    #16
  17. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    How long does it really take to put them back in their appropriate covers? You are getting on a flight of several hours. You have plenty of time to put them backs you are sitting on your flight. You have to show them to get through security and sometimes if you are flying internationally, you have to show passports again anyway. Do you hand the passports in the covers to the agent scanning your boarding passes? You should take them out as soon as you get into thebaieport and leave them out until you get in the plane.

    The passport cover is really a no brainier not to expect the agent at check in to remove the cover. If this is the worst problem one has flying, I'd say you have nothing to complain about and are very lucky indeed.
     
    #17
  18. VoR61

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    I believe @Joshdent's main point was:

    "it actually puts more stress and strain on them to take them in and out of the covers every time we check in"​

    Certainly a legitimate concern I think, because they could fall into disrepair over time.

    He further states:

    "it certainly isn't the end of the world if I can't use them" and ...
    "if a majority of the time they are not accepted then I just won't use them and avoid the drama and inconvenience"​

    So he demonstrates, at least to me, a solid handle on the issue's importance and wanted to hear from us about the normalcy of this practice.
     
    #18
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  19. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    The covers are meant to protect the passports for when you carry them- for instance if you regularly carry them in your pants pocket, the would not be rubbing on your pants to fray the edges.

    Taking them in and out of the cover isn't going to damage them and they need to
    be out anyway so a smart process is for him to take them out as soon as he arrives and leaving them out until he gets on the plane so he doesn't have to keep taking them in and out after he checks in, then againto go through security and then if he needs to show them at boarding.

    And as I responded in my first post, it's up to the passenger to remove them,not the gate agent. If one would not expect TSA to remove them to go through security and the gate agent to remove them to board, you shouldn't expect the agent checking you in to either.

    This thread keeps going on when his initial question about whether the agent was a control freak. No he was not.
     
    #19
  20. technomage1

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    Everyone, I think the posters question has been answered, and we don't need to speculate if he was a control freak or not. I'm going to go ahead and close the thread.
     
    #20
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