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Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

raleigh, nc
posts: 22
reviews: 17
Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

I'm pretty certain it's in the pocket in front of my seat. Fell out of something it was in. I've called every possible option in Lost & Found at both airports. Anyone have any detailed information about how extensively they search the pockets? I have to fly abroad within the week and the delay to get another passport is a huge inconvenience. it's driving me crazy to know it is very likely there and i can't get anyone to tell me if they even regularly search the seat pockets.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 14,198
reviews: 73
1. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Hi,

Here's what I'd do.

Call the front-line reservations number first..

Explain what's gone on.. See IF they'll give you the actual phone number to the airlines station office of the city where you disembarked..

Some airlines are loathe to give these local numbers out to the pubic as they prefer (for good reason) that all calls be centrally handled as local stations aren't staffed to handle the majority of inbound calls.

Once (and if) you get it, ask to speak to a supervisor who works either "gates", "customer service" or "fleet services".. all three of these titles generally means the employee has direct contact with the aircraft and it's servicing while on the ground..

Other titles like "cargo", "ramp" or "administration" tends to be people not directly involved with the aircraft itself or the passenger-side of the operation.

Normally most of these kinds of items are held at the airport where they're first discovered.. If they're not reclaimed after a certain number of days, then they're either sent to the airlines central baggage office for collection and mass disposition or are disposed of locally via an approved process..

As a passport is technically US Government property (they're issued to you, but remain DoS property) any US passports will be sent back to the DoS via their central office after a period of time.

I will tell you that IF it's found that most carriers will make at least some basic search to see if the name on the passport matches someone who has a current reservation.

Time is of the essence here as found items aren't usually held at the local stations for long periods of time due to physical space constrains (you'd be amazed at how many coats are left behind and the space they take up) and staff time involved in their collection and handling..

Best of luck.

Travel Safe,

norfolk
posts: 7,425
reviews: 30
2. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

if you HAVE to fly abroad within the week - you have little choice. accept it is gone and go and get in line for an emergency replacement. there is a public holiday next week which will make life even more difficult. so stop flogging a dead horse and get on with applying.

fingers crossed for you.

pam

London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 7,529
reviews: 23
3. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Assuming that you rang the airline and gave them the information about which flight and which seat and they could not help, you are probably best off reporting the passport missing and getting another one if your need for a passport is urgent.

It is not as though your name, address and phone number wouldn't be in the passport if someone wanted to give it back to you.

You could try escalating your request to a higher level within the airline, but most people finding a passport in the pocket used by their seat would hand it over to the flight attendant.

I don't think the airport lost and found would come into it.

If a few days have passed, the chance that it hasn't been found by another passenger aren't good and if the airline hasn't contacted you the chances of it getting back to you are diminishing.

While I was typing this, GOBI came up with the procedure to follow. Good luck!

Edited: 11:49 am, December 28, 2012
raleigh, nc
posts: 22
reviews: 17
4. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

When you "ring" the airline's lost & found at each airport, you get an answering machine that says if we found it, we'll call, if not, you won't hear from us. I don't even know if or when someone actually checks the messages.

The airline & the airports both send me to these numbers.

I don't even know if they search the pockets. I was told the plane turned around from RDU that evening and was most likely cleaned in O'Hare. Again, I can't determine what that "cleaning" details.

My travel is urgent within the next week & a new passport at best is 2 weeks. Otherwise, I would not be sweating this nearly as much.

Thanks for your reply.

raleigh, nc
posts: 22
reviews: 17
5. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Thanks Pam, you're right. I have an appt. at a passport facility for next week - so that gives me today through the weekend to continue calling as I turn in the Lost/Stolen passport form at the same time as I process the application for a replacement.

London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 7,529
reviews: 23
6. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Surely the relevant passport office has an emergency procedure with a really quick turn-around? If not in Raleigh, then maybe in D.C. or New York or some place else it would be worth going to for something this important?

I haven't had to get a US passport quickly before but I do know you can get a British passport in London in a day if you pay enough and are willing to hang around the office all day and the US Embassy in London will issue an emergency US travel document to replace a lost or stolen US passport when needed..

I would be surprised if the US didn't have anything similar for its own residents.

This came up Googling "Obtaining a US passport quickly in the US"

http://www.visahq.com/passport.php

http://www.visahq.com/new_passport.php

Edit: But you seem to have this in hand. Your frustration is understandable. Good luck!

Edited: 12:12 pm, December 28, 2012
raleigh, nc
posts: 22
reviews: 17
7. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Expedited passports through an accepted facility in the US are two-three weeks. I'll look into some of these services. (I haven't even begun to think about replacing the visa I had for business.) I tried making an appt at the Regional Facility where it is said to be "two weeks or less" and the first available appointment at D.C. or the Atlanta office is after Jan 6. I might as well just do it here next week and overnight an expedited application.

But I'll consider one of the services such as you googled. Thanks

London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 7,529
reviews: 23
8. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

Sorry. People who live in England have this fantasy that things in the US are managed so much more efficiently than they are here.

Apparently not everything.....

New York City, New...
posts: 20
9. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

You should also try the USPS office, they do passports, I can't remember how long the expedited process takes....you should call them and find out...that's where I got my passport but it wasn't expedited. Goodluck!! Note that I typed USPS, lol, not UPS....

New York City, New...
posts: 20
10. Re: Lost a passport on a plane. Any advice?

I just checked online, I think expedited is 2 days at the USPS.