They missed the boat, but it’s not entirely their fault

By | February 2nd, 2016

Tyrone Knight missed the boat, and it’s his fault. Well, not entirely.

He and his wife packed their passports in their bags and checked them before they tried to board the NCL Spirit a few weeks ago.

“We could not show the terminal personnel our passports,” he says.

I can hear some of you laughing. But I’m not. I did exactly the same thing when we flew from Orlando to Calgary a few years ago. Thanks to the helpful agents at US Airways, we were allowed access to our checked luggage and retrieved our passports.

Knight wasn’t so lucky, and now he wants me to fix this mess. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to the beginning, with the Knights approaching the cruise terminal.

“We had valid passports in our carry-on luggage but inadvertently checked our carry-on with our other bags,” he says.

Since the NCL cruise was headed to the Caribbean, they would need a passport. So naturally, NCL stopped them from boarding.

“We were told to wait in the hospitality area while they searched for our luggage,” says Knight. “I provided a description of the carry-on bag, and I informed them all of our checked bags had NCL red luggage tags with our room number, name and cell phone number.”

Several hours passed.

“We became concerned as the 4 p.m. time of departure approached. I spoke with a person who identified herself as the port coordinator. She told me they had not located my luggage yet,” he says.

Knight told an NCL representative that they’d sailed with the cruise line a few months ago and that NCL had records of their passports in their system. Plus, they also had valid IDs.

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“Both my wife and I had in our possession our State of Delaware issued driver’s licenses,” he notes. “As of July 2010, Delaware’s driver licenses became more than simple cards with basic information; they are high-tech pieces of plastic designed to be more secure and harder to forge. They are 100 percent compliant with the Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID standards as mandated by Congress.”

But the port coordinator said there was nothing she could do.

“I felt that we could have been allowed to board and be held in a confined location until such time as our passports could be retrieved from our carry on bag,” he says.

The ship sailed without them.

“When the ship returned to port seven days later with our our luggage, after we had returned home, we received a call asking how did we want to pay to have our luggage returned to us,” he says. “That felt heartless.”

Knight wants NCL to cover their hotel bill and air fare home, which comes to $901. They’d also like a chance to take their missed cruise.

Yes, Knight shouldn’t have checked his passport. I’ll bet you that’s the last time he’ll do that. But how hard could it have been to find his checked bag? By Knight’s account, NCL had three whole hours to track down the luggage. How much did the cruise line contribute — or not contribute — to the Knights missing their cruise?

No doubt, NCL is partly to blame for Knight’s denied boarding. But should it be on the hook for a hotel night, airfare and a do-over cruise? I don’t know. But maybe it should do something for him. After all, if its crew had done their job, they would have found the Knights’ luggage and allowed them to sail.

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