Are you facing the same situation as my friend did one week ago when she was trying to check-in for her flight to Bali?
Dear friend of mine (who will be writing an autobiography titled ‘Everything that could have gone wrong.’ in n years time) knew that her passport had less than 6 months validity but thinks that it was fine as it was only 2 weeks shy of that 6 months. There was a shot of ‘confidence boost’ in that risk as she managed to enter JB three days before our Bali trip with the same passport.
Well well, she was so wrong about it.
We were on a JetStar flight to Bali and trying to use the self check-in machine and her check-in failed; while everyone else succeeded.
‘Maybe it’s my passport validity. It’s okay, I’ll queue for the check-in counter with staff’
<while me and my other 2 friends were like shocked at her nonchalant attitude, yet at the same time joking to her that she was not going to be able to board the plane>
After a long 20 mins wait – no idea why people didn’t want to use the self check-in counters – it was finally her turn.
‘I can’t seem to check-in at the self check-in machine. Please assist’
‘Sorry Ma’am, your passport has less than 6 months validity, we are unable to let you check-in’
‘It’s only a few weeks less than 6 months, can’t you just let me check-in?’
‘Sorry Ma’am, even if we let you check-in, you will be denied at the Indonesia customs and you will be deported back.’
‘So what do I do next? Can I get my passport renewed here?’
‘Hi Ma’am, you can go down to the ICA which opens at 8am (it was 6am at the airport) and request for a same-day passport renewal. We have another flight at 3:40pm. You can come back and pay $90 re-booking + $25 admin fee to catch the next flight.’
And then we proceeded to re-pack our luggage check-in as she had to remove her toiletries (in case she really couldn’t make it for whatever reasons) and hand over her cool electronic devices like Nintendo switch and Bose speakers so we won’t be bored without her (in case she really couldn’t make it).
Prior to us saying goodbye to her, I went over to the JetStar payment counter to check with the staff on duty, wanting to reassure her that all is good and she has to be back to join us for the trip.
‘Excuse me, can I check if people do get their Passports renewed on the same day? Like.. does this happen often? Do they make it back in time?’
‘Yes, this happens very often. In fact, it kind of happens every day. It’s very simple. All you have to do is to visit ICA at 8am. There will be a long queue but you try to let them know that you’re urgent and you have a flight to catch. Usually, they will let you cut (the queue) and you should be able to get it at about lunchtime.’
<confidence restored; we bid farewell to my friend and crossed our fingers that she could join us so we could split the expenses by 4 and not 3. Then again, Overcooked 2 would have been a lot more boring if it was only 3 players instead of 4. damn. our fingers were crossed. all of them.>
And then we flew to Bali without her.
Her Story @ ICA:
True enough, she saw several people with their luggage – possibly all facing the same issue.
At 8am, there was indeed a long queue but she managed to speak to an officer to share her sob story; and allowed her to skip the queue and proceed inside for that urgent renewal. She had to provide a physical photo printout – explains the passport photo print machine at the building – and pay the passport renewal fees.
IMPORTANT INFO: The officer warned her that this urgent same-day renewal service will only be given once in your entire lifetime. Should such stupid situations happen again, there will be no exception and you will have to go through the usual wait of 2 to 4 weeks for the passport renewal. That being said, this ‘same-day renewal service’, though proven to happen is never a guarantee. Please do not expect to experience the same thing should this happen to you. It is your fault anyway if you forgot to renew your passport. Just think positive thoughts and pray/wish/hope for the best. Please remember that no one owes anyone anything, so please treat all the immigration officers with respect; even if they reject you because they have absolutely no obligations to grant anyone an exception. If they do, it’s your blessing and a huge favour from them.
By 1pm, the passport was ready for collection and once again, my friend managed to skip the queue (and receive death stares from the people after her).
It was then a mad rush to the airport -> visit the JetStar counter to pay that extra $115 to re-issue her boarding pass for the afternoon flight.
<Just as when you thought things were going well.. There’s a reason why Murphy’s law exist.>
‘Ma’am, we need to weigh your hand carry.’
My friend did not buy baggage and dumped her toiletries at home yet her hand carry bag was obviously looking heavier than 7kg.
That was it – another $60 cost was incurred due to the fact that she ignored her 6 months passport expiry clause.
The price you pay for taking risks: $175 + transportation cost spent on grab
Should she decides not to go for the trip: the sunk cost of $370 (air ticket + accom) will be forfeited too.
——THAT’S NOT THE END
Later in the afternoon, my friend (the one who booked the tickets) received a revised itinerary from JetStar. In the revised itinerary, the name of the friend who got bumped off the flight had been removed.. like wtfffffff?
Our guess was that she was treated as a #noshow passenger and JetStar kicked her off the return flight, thinking that she did not make it to Bali (and this was before she purchased the afternoon ticket).
Murphy’s Law taking place again.. everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Thankfully, all was good and the stars finally aligned and we managed to get another friend (in Singapore) to call JetStar to explain the situation and that she needed her return flight ticket to be reinstated. That was just a phone call away but.. could you imagine what if.. the friend did not check the email to see the revised itinerary? She would have been stuck at the check-in of the return flight at the airport as her name would not be in the boarding list.
Well, we did eventually breathe a sigh of relief on the last day at the airport – after she received her boarding pass.
I don’t know what other ‘series of unfortunate events’ could happen anymore.
What an adventure.
This expiring passport episode is more exciting than everything else I did in Bali.
Hope you enjoyed my random story-telling 😀