How many questions related to your job are you asked on any given day? I know it would depend on your profession. Even if you aren’t working with the ‘public’ per se, you are working with other individuals and come across questions and answers every day.
In my field of travel sales, I am questioned every day about hundreds of different scenarios: where should I go; when is the best time to go there; how can I get the best deal; do I need a passport just to name a few.
There are many times throughout any given day that I am asked to provide a professional opinion, my best options, offers and advice. I would say that more times than not I am questioned about the answers I provide to people looking for help and guidance. They also have a habit of asking the same questions over again if they are hearing the answer they want to hear and refuse to listen to the answer you are giving them. Yesterday was one of those times.
A customer called up and advised she needs an emergency flight for a family member to the Philippines due to a death in the family. The traveller’s passport was only valid for three months past the travel period and would that be okay. When I replied that the passport had to be valid for at least six months past the period of travel, the reply was, “well on the Philippines website it doesn’t say that”. Well, that could be true, which is why you are calling me, which is why I am advising that it needs to be valid for six months.
It didn’t end there. She asked again, if she was able to get proof from the website that all that was required was a valid passport would she be okay and be allowed on the flight. I said the same answer as before, that passports need to be valid for six months past period of travel. She mentioned that she saw on the air Canada website that it says valid passport required but not for how long. I replied that for different countries there are different validity dates.
She asked again, but this time she said, I am calling because I am looking for guidance and an answer to my situation. I did say to her that I understand the urgency of her situation and need to get there as soon as possible but she will need to go to the passport office to get an expedited passport. If she booked the ticket and was denied boarding for insufficient time on her passport, we would not be held responsible.
I think the exchange went back and forth about five times. I politely said to her that even though I know she is looking for me to say that the person travelling would be okay with a passport without the validity that I would not be able to say that.
I will always remember my uncle telling me on my very first day at my very first travel job that I needed to always have a valid passport. He said, “what if your manager told you that you were going to Cuba tomorrow and you said your passport wasn’t valid?” I know that this traveller is not in the travel business, but you never know when you may need to travel and need your valid passport. Six months before my passport is set to expire, I am getting a new one. Thankfully I don’t have to think about it again until July 2024 six months before my current one expires.