Imagine you've planned your first family vacation with your young child! The big day arrives, your bags are packed, and you're all eagerly checking-in at the airport. Now imagine that you are told that you cannot board your flight. What would you do? Just ask Kevin Sturtz and his family; this is their real-life story of how they were able to make the best of a bad situation (and learn a little something along the way)!
Kevin, his wife Meredith, and their almost-two-year-old son Eli, were looking forward to their first family vacation together; a fantastic trip to Turks & Caicos! Kevin had made all of the flight and lodging arrangements through Travelocity, and he and Meredith had prepared Eli for an exciting adventure abroad! The evening before their departure, Kevin completed the advance airline check-in on-line. United's website prompted him for passport information for him and Meredith and asked whether they had a passport for Eli or "other identity paperwork"; because Eli did not have a passport, Kevin checked the "other" option and their check-in was confirmed.
The next morning, they arrived at the airport and went to the United ticketing desk where he was asked to produce passports for everyone; he presented Meredith's passport and his own and then handed over a birth certificate and Social Security Card for Eli. The airline staff explained that Eli's paperwork was insufficient and that he needed a passport. After Kevin explained that the United website indicated no such requirement, the airline's personnel acknowledged that the couple could take Eli on-board the flight, but that once in Turks & Caicos, there would likely be problems leaving the country with a child who did not have a passport.
Kevin and Meredith sprang into action - implementing what Kevin calls "Operation Vacation Recovery!" They jumped on-line in the airport and researched ways to get a same-day passport; however, because it was a Saturday, all offices that offered such services were closed. Not wanting to forfeit any of their vacation time, Kevin called Travelocity to cancel his lodging and flight and to get a credit for the airline so they could choose a new destination and still fly out that morning.
Kevin returned to the United Airlines desk to explain what had happened and the United desk staff found the credit and assured Kevin it could be applied immediately. So Kevin and Meredith checked the "Departures" board and selected a flight to Miami that fit their criteria (left in that same morning, bound for a warm and sunny destination, only a 3-hour flight). While they were waiting to board, Kevin was able to book a rental car and a room in the Westin Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, FL through Hotels.com.