Couple's Trip to Mexico Halted Over Passport Card

A couple expecting to spend their vacation in Mexico had their trip brought to a halt when an airport in Puerto Vallarta wouldn’t accept a passport card.

Kristine and Richard Scimeca had booked a flight leaving from O’Hare International Airport Saturday and arriving in Puerto Vallarta.

“This was a company trip that I won, which I worked hard for three months,” Richard Scimeca said.

When the couple arrived at the Chicago airport, Richard Scimeca had a traditional passport, but his wife had a passport card. A United Airlines representative assisted them with entering the information from the passport card and said there was no problem.

But when the pair arrived in Mexico, officials would not let Kristine leave the airport. Less than two hours later, the Scimecas were being sent home.

“I cried,” Kristine Scimeca said. 

A passport card only applies for land or sea travel to certain locations internationally. While that information is printed on the back of the card, the Scimecas admit they didn’t see it. But it was an oversight they said should have been caught by the airline.

“United should have never let us out of O’Hare,” Kristine Scimeca said.

The Scimecas booking agent, Apple Vacations, said the travel documents clearly state that you cannot fly using a passport card and United Airlines said it is the passenger’s responsibility to handle all of their travel documents. The airline noted, however, that it plans to work with the Scimecas to remedy the situation.

“We hope nobody else runs into this problem,” Kristine Scimeca said. "We don’t want anybody to have to go through what we did.”

The Scimecas said Monday the airline plans to cover the airfare for a new trip.

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