Recently though it has caused him major grief. We went to Arizona in January. He went a week ahead of me to participate in a retreat with some of his staff. When we travel together, which is most of the time, I'm in charge of passports, boarding passes, all travel related documentation. This time, however, he was on his own and I was to join him a week later.
When I arrived in AZ I looked up the number of the Canadian Consulate in Phoenix only to get a recording telling me that the Phoenix office had closed permanently in June 2012 and I would have to contact the consulate in Los Angeles. When I finally spoke to a person at that office, I was told we had three options: First, we could drive to LA, wait in line there all day for an application for a replacement passport which would then be mailed to us from Quebec. The process of driving there, going to the consulate, and driving back would have taken up to five days and then a couple of weeks (at least) to actually receive the passport by mail. The second option was to go to the airport and take our chances on passing through security and boarding our plane. There were many examples on the internet where persons with damaged passports were routinely turned away by security and not allowed to board international flights. The consulate official suggested that if we wanted to try it, we should visit the airport prior to the day of the flight and get something in writing from the airline supervisor. Our past experience with airport security in the Phoenix airport made us very hesitant to try this route (long, scary story). The third option was to drive back to Canada and cross the border by car. It might take awhile and some questioning at the border, but it would be the Canadian officials he'd be talking to and not US security officers. After weighing everything carefully, we decided he would drive back with his nephew who happened to be in Phoenix and was driving back anyway at about the same time we were scheduled to return home.
So, I flew home as planned when our holiday was over, leaving Lloyd to drive back to Canada with his nephew. It took them less than 2 days to reach Canada. After three weeks of worrying about whether he'd ever get back into Canada, it took only a few minutes at the Canadian border although he was cautioned by the customs officer to get his passport replaced before travelling again,
What a relief! I wonder if I'll ever feel at ease when he's travelling by himself. I think he will be more careful about checking his pockets before throwing clothes in the washer.
He went to the passport office last week to apply for a new passport. The person who checked his application looked at his old passport and remarked that it's amazing how many people try to use similarly damaged passports and can't understand why they're not allowed to board their flight. So it's a good thing we settled on the option of driving back. I guess it's also a fairly common thing to happen to travelers. Lloyd was told that if he loses or damages his passport during the term of his new passport, it'll be quite difficult for him to get a new passport again and if issued a new one, it would likely be for a shorter term than normal. I guess all governments handle the issuing of passports more strictly since 2001.
Lloyd should have his new passport in hand in a week or so and is anxious to 'try it out' by going back down to Arizona!
He did manage to take some photos along the way as he and Mark were driving north from Arizona, through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana. Here are a few of them, mostly Idaho and Montana.
Isn't travelling fun!!!