Saturday, January 16, 2010

Did You Hear What Happened to Joan?

Did You Hear What Happened To Joan?

You can read it here:

Or you can skip that and read it here..

Apparently, Joan Rivers was held "hostage" in a Costa Rican airport on her way home after vacationing during the holidays. She was held "hostage" because her passport didn't match her boarding ticket. Now, I believe that even celebrities have to follow the rules, but this all has me worried. Apparently the agent who I purchased my tickets spelled my son's name wrong on the ticket. Instead of "Nicholas" it reads: Nickaulos. Okay..easy mistake I guess? So I called the agent right away to correct the problem, and she promised that she would send me a new ticket after she gets "permission" first. I don't know what that means, do you?

Traveling with kids can be interesting. Back in 1999 I went to the Azores (I was a single mom back then, with two kids.) and the travel agent insisted that I needed a notarized letter signed by my ex-husband permitting our children to leave the country. It was done after weeks of pleading, and I carried this letter with me at all times of travel: time of check in, time when we changed planes on the East coast, and when arriving to my destination overseas. During these times, I kept this letter with my boarding tickets. Never at any time did ANYONE ask to see this letter. I even volunteered to show this letter, and I only got odd looks for security and airport personnel. Okay..

When I traveled three years ago, my passports were a major issue. All of our passports had expired, and I applied for new ones that year in February. I didn't get my passports until July--5 days before my flight--only because I actually went to the passport issuing office in person in San Francisco--otherwise I would have received them in October. Richard signed a document allowing our youngest to travel outside of the country. I encountered no problems until we reached our destination.

When we arrived and showed our passports, the airline guy had questions. Why did my two older children have a different last name than my own and my youngest child? Why is that a concern? Really? Well, I had to explain to him about my divorce, and that my two older children had their father's last name, and I remarried and had another child. I then pointed out to him that ALL my children had my maiden name written on their passports. I really didn't mind explaining these facts, but I really didn't think it was that necessary! With the strict passport laws that are enforced these days, I wouldn't think I would be questioned about my personal life like that. When leaving the Azores weeks later, after checking in and after saying our goodbyes to our crying relatives, I was targeting aside and was "searched" by a female employee at the airport. I guess I looked suspicious: a mom with 3 kids traveling with their grandmother--that reads trouble all over the place, doesn't it? Then my kids were questioned. Remember, I was LEAVING the Azores! My two boys were questioned by airline security in English. They spoke English to them because my boys didn't speak enough Portuguese. It was more than obvious to anyone that I wasn't taking them hostage against their will from the Azores, and they were two American kids on their way home, so I was peeved, yes, I was pissed.

"Who is this woman?" (lady was pointing to me)

"What's her name?"

"Why did you come here?"

Well, good thing my kids gave the right answers! Was I part of a security training drill or what? Perhaps when I absent mindingly packed that bottle of cognac in my carry on-it alerted a guy sitting in the back with the security cameras. I swear, I only had 3 hours sleep when I packed that in! It was handed over to my crying cousin, Adelaide who promised to not open it until I arrived back to the island again. They could tell I was getting upset. I was tired, restless and ready to get back home, (I should remind you that it takes a lot for me to get that level in public.) but was reminded over and over again that it was airline "policy". Each time that woman at the airport repeated that line that over and over again, I was ready to erupt like a volcano. Yes, I almost had a Joan Rivers moment. If I was say, Joan Rivers, quite possibly I would be treated better, but really... This was the same year that poor English couple lost their girl in a Portuguese resort area, so I can understand a little..but---I was LEAVING the country!

So far, my husband has already applied for his passport. My passport and the passports of my children are still good. My mom's passport doesn't expire until next year. So far, everything is running smoothly--I'm keeping my fingers crossed nevertheless.


Lori said...

I'm sure all will be well, but at least you have called to have the spelling corrected. I'd follow up with them to make sure it is fixed.

Anonymous said...

i remember when you went the last time and i remember all you went thru just to get the passports. I PRAY PRAY that because some bonehead messed up Nicholas's name that there are no problems. I fear also that you are in for a wild ride as you go and come home this year. What a headache and bother for you to go thru. I saw Rivers on two shows....she got into a cab with some dude she did not even know who drove her 6 hrs to get to another airport so she got a taste of what it is like for common folks. Scary.

Missie said...

That makes me afraid of going out of the country.LOL