Passenger Lands 900 Miles From Destination in Jamaica With No Passport
"YOU'RE ENTERING A DIFFERENT COUNTRY WITHOUT A PASSPORT—THAT’S BAD,” THE FRONTIER AIRLINES PASSENGER WAS TOLD.
A gate change in the eleventh hour coupled with a last-minute restroom pitstop caused a Frontier Airlines passenger to land nearly 900 miles from her final destination, in a foreign country, and without her passport no less. Beverly Ellis-Hebard, who considers herself to be a seasoned traveler, told ABC's Action News Investigative Team that she touched down in Jamaica after a boarding agent scanned her ticket and failed to alert her of her flight's gate change.
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Ellis-Hebard was supposed to fly from Philadelphia to Jacksonville. However, she was unaware of the last-minute aircraft switcheroo because she was in the bathroom at the time of the announcement.
In an interview with Action News, Ellis-Hebard said she asked the gate worker if she had enough time to visit the restroom. With 20 minutes to spare, she walked away from her post; but when she returned, the boarding agent was issuing a last call for boarding.
Rushed, Ellis-Hebard handed her boarding pass to the agent, who she claims was paying more attention to the size of her personal item than her ticket. Under the agent's demand, Ellis-Hebard placed her bag in the luggage sizer to see if it would fit on the plane. "I put it in and when I went to take it out my arm right here got all scraped up. I was bleeding," she told Action News.
Ellis-Hebard said she was hurried to her seat, but not before the agent asked her to confirm her name on the ticket.
"She said, 'Come on, come on. Give me your boarding pass.' I would say I took about ten steps, and she said, 'Are you Beverly Ellis-Hebard?'" she recounted. "I said, 'You just had my boarding pass. You just checked me in.' 'Yes!' She said, 'All right, go! Go.'"
Ellis-Hebard didn't learn of the plane's destination until a Frontier attendant said she would feel better once they landed…in Jamaica.
"I laughed. I said 'I would love to be going there but I have a beach where I live,'" Ellis-Hebard recalled. "She said, 'Look at me. This plane is going to Jamaica.' And I knew by the look on her face she wasn't joking."
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As if matters couldn't get any worse, Ellis-Hebard was without her passport, understandably. The flight attendant said, "You're entering a different country without a passport. That's bad."
After relaying the situation to Jamaican authorities, Ellis-Hebard was asked to stay in the jetway since that is still considered U.S. soil. She was eventually able to board a flight to Philadelphia later that day.
"It should have never have happened because I did not have a passport. The woman at the gate did not do her job," she told Action News. Ellis-Hebard was offered a $600 voucher and was reimbursed for her original Florida ticket.
Consider this a warning to always double check for gate changes, especially if you pop away for a snack or bathroom run!