This week, one of our members asks a question about a situation no one would want to find themselves in

Last week I received a panicked call from a friend of a friend (person A) who had just landed at BKK for the start of a 2 week TH holiday. Somewhere between boarding their flight in Dubai and getting to immigration at BKK this person’s travelling companion (person B) had lost their passport. Given that the passport was not found in the seat nor on the air bridge it raises a question – is it possible that the passport was stolen mid flight? Has anybody out there in AFF land heard of this before? Oh – and second question. What would you do as person A? Continue on your holiday solo or return with person B? Note – A and B are friends not a couple.

Having a passport go missing is actually a common occurrence. Often the passport is temporarily lost rather than stolen. Because of their size, passports are easily hidden in a seat pocket. They can also fall down the gap between the seat and the aircraft’s hull. With the passport such a valuable document, it certainly pays to keep it close.

My passport lives on me when I travel especially on the plane. I have a PacSafe over shoulder carrier that holds a passport and small amount of cash etc. No matter what it stays on me even when I sleep on the plane.

In this case however, it’s certainly possible that it was indeed stolen. As the recent MH370 incident highlighted, Thailand is often a place where false or modified passports can be purchased. Because the materials and technology in modern passports are hard to copy, criminals prefer to obtain real passports and modify them. As a result, a passport is a highly sought after commodity on the black market. To have a passport disappear on a flight to Bangkok is no surprise.

With their passport gone, the journey is certainly going to change for the traveller. If you’re travelling with a friend in that situation, what would you do, head home with them or continue the journey?

Unless I was super close to someone like they were my partner I would probably continue on (although I don’t know who I would travel with that wasn’t a really close friend so…). It’s a lot of money to travel overseas and I would have booked and prepaid heaps in advance.

For many travellers, it could well come down to what sort of coverage is provided by their insurance. Some policies would cover both parties returning home and resuming the trip later. Others would only cover such events if it was a relative who was in that unfortunate position. It’s certainly a situation best avoided, as there are no easy answers.

Have you lost your passport overseas or had it stolen, why not share your experience HERE.


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