Anyone who’s ever flown internationally has had that heartbeat-skipping moment: “Wait, is my passport expired?” I had it a few months before flying to England, and my heart didn’t rest until my newly-issued passport was in my hands. But one woman who flew to Europe from the U.S. says she didn’t have that moment until it was too late, when she realized her passport was a year expired. Turns out a bunch of security agents missed it, too. Oops.
KXTV says the Nevada City, Calif. woman was happy that she was able to go on her Italian vacation but is a bit stumped as to how she was even allowed to go. Her passport had expired in August 2011, which she failed to notice before she embarked from San Francisco International Airport last month.
When handing over her passport to a United airlines ticket agent, the issue didn’t come up. Cut to the Transportation Security Administration screeners and again, not a problem or a red flag to be found.
“No one caught it, my passport had expired a long time ago,”she said.
She even made it past a customs agent in Frankfurt, Germany on her way to Italy, and had her passport stamped without a word. Finally she realized something was amiss when reaching her destination in Italy. Like a good citizen (and one who realizes her luck may have overextended itself already) she rushed to the U.S. consulate to get everything in order.
“I quickly went to the US consulate where officials were clearly stunned I had gotten so far on an expired travel document, I said ‘it’s a mystery to me too,’” she said, adding that she was issued a new passport there.
The Department of Homeland Security says it’s looking into how she could’ve slipped past so many officials, which begs the question — if one woman can elude that many security checks, how many others could be doing the same thing?
Oh and in case you needed the reminder — folks, don’t try this at home. Or at the airport, rather. It will probably ruin your vacation.