For the most part travel is a relatively smooth process, sure the odd delay or incident may cause some frustration, however we go along, to get along. For others, sadly this is not the case, especially when it comes to international travel and their passports. Read on to savour the experiences of other travelers who have not had such a good experience when traveling abroad.
Watch Me - Nae Nae
US rapper Silento, made popular for the song Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) was stranded in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently after being barred from leaving the country due to a business dispute. The rapper’s passport was seized, banning him from traveling after he was accused by authorities of not paying a local club promoter the equivalent of $81,500 for failing to perform at his club. Silento did eventually perform in the clubs he was originally scheduled for, in order to avoid the travel ban. Consequently, his passport was returned with the rapper returning to the US.
Only Six Days Short
Traveler George was in Budapest with friends when craving some sun and beaches in late October, when on a whim he and his friends decided to travel to Israel. Jumping online they checked visa requirements, located an apartment and booked tickets. On arrival at the airport, George navigated his way through a number of security checkpoints and customs areas where he had reached the point of entry to the plane.
When the steward checked the passport advising George he was six days short to enter Israel, he was a little embarrassed, to say the least. Despite his pleas to board, the steward advised if Israel does not accept his entry into the country, the airline would be responsible for the price of his return ticket. Unfortunately, George was unable to board the plane and join his friends on the short break as planned.
Never Put A Passport In Your Back Pocket
Over 20,000 British passports were lost or stolen in 2014 alone with thieves using a variety of tried and tested techniques to catch distracted tourists off-guard, including the classic snatch and run, the hug, or the sleight of hand. It’s gotten so bad, the UK Foreign Office launched an education initiative including the production of a series of videos to educate their subjects when traveling. James Freedman, stealth crime expert, stated:
'Pickpockets and thieves constantly evolve their techniques and tactics. These videos show just a handful of ways that a pickpocket might attempt to steal from you, so remember some basic advice to stay safe. 'If you don’t need to take your passport with you, leave it in your hotel safe instead. Only carry what you need, and keep valuables in a secure pocket. If you have a bag or case, never let it out of your sight. Be more alert in crowds and wary of anyone getting too close. 'Finally, try not to advertise the location of prized possessions by patting your pockets or bags. That’s why you’ll often find pickpockets near the “Beware Pickpockets” sign.'
Sports Star Eats Passport
Major League Baseball star Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox team testified before a federal jury in Miami that he ate a chunk of a fake passport, washing it down with a beer while flying into the United States in order to cover up his illegal travel. This particular trip was part of a larger smuggling operation to import talented Cuban baseball players into the United States.
It was on an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami the baseball star consumed the page containing the false name and photograph, because he was worried about missing an October 2013 deadline and the loss of a contract worth an estimated $68 million dollars, which he would later sign with Chicago’s Southsiders. The star testified under a grant issued by the court for limited immunity for his illegal conduct, which means he won’t be prosecuted if and when he tells the truth from the witness stand.
Olympians Passports Seized
During the Rio Olympics in Brazil, a number of athletes had their passports seized as a result of bad behavior in their host country. Most notable was that of Ryan Lochte and three other team members, after they were involved in an incident at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro. When in custody they made statements to the effect they were forcibly removed from a taxi and robbed at gunpoint. However, surveillance footage revealed they had damaged the gas station before engaging in a confrontation with security personnel. Whilst Lochte fled the country, his remaining team members had their passports seized until the incident was resolved. With legal representation, they were eventually able to negotiate the return of their passports and a fine of $11,000 was paid as restitution.
Do you have a passport horror story to share?