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The Crucial Reason to Avoid Storing Your Passport in Your Carry-on Luggage
In the flurry of preparations before an international flight, there’s one essential item that demands unwavering attention: a passport. On the journey to the airport, that familiar ritual of checking and double-checking the passport’s location becomes second nature. This is a reassuring reminder that a global journey hinges on this small, but mighty document.
“While you might think it’s a good idea to place your passport in a secure pocket of your carry-on suitcase, where it’s less likely to get lost, this could be a major mistake,” said Dan Bubb, a professor at the University of Nevada and former airline pilot.
Checking Your Carry-On at the Gate
An issue may arise when a gate agent tells you you’ll need to check your carry-on bag at the gate. In most cases, gate-checking happens when there’s a full flight that won’t have enough overhead bin space for everyone. When you gate-check a carry-on bag, the agents will tag it to your final destination. If your passport is in that bag, you won’t be able to retrieve it until you reach baggage claim.
“If you accidentally gate-check your bag [with] your passport in it, the best thing to do is approach an airline customer service representative at the gate where the plane arrived to inform them of what happened,” Bubb said.
Airport staff may locate your bag and bring it to you for you to complete your immigration process. However, that option is not always guaranteed. You may need to contact the embassy at your destination, and that can be a challenging option.
Showing Up Without A Passport
If you show up at a border without a passport, they will turn you away from the country and send you back on the first flight to your country of origin.
“If you accidentally gate-check your passport on your flight home from an international destination, that’s somewhat of a different story,” Bubb says. In that case, border patrol officials may work with you to establish your identity and let you into your home country. However, this is entirely up to the discretion of the agents and can be a time-consuming and unpleasant process.
Always keep your passport on your person or in your personal item. It’s crucial to have your important travel documents, such as visas and vaccination records, with you at all times. Don’t take any chances when it comes to your ability to enter a foreign country or return home smoothly.