No AAdvantage Miles for You! Family denied boarding because of tiny passport crease?

Screenshot from the KDVR website

Here’s an item I first read about in a milepoint thread started by forum member sobore.   Kyle Gosnell, his wife and his son were traveling from Denver to Belize City on American Airlines.  

Despite clearing TSA and being boarded by a gate agent in Denver, when they got to DFW to make their connection, the American Airlines gate agent denied them boarding because of a “damaged” passport.

Denver television station KDVR that first reported the story. Here’s Gosnell’s explanation to their reporter Hema Mullur:

Gosnell, his wife Dana, and their young son, Kye, received boarding passes all the way through to Belize City.
But in Dallas, they hit a roadblock.

“They took a look at our passports and said that my passport was mutilated, therefore I wasn’t able to fly,” Gosnell said.

The reporter asked American for a comment:

A spokesperson for the airline didn’t give FOX31 an official statement, but said it is within the airline’s rights to refuse a traveler for a passport that might not be able to be scanned.

American is paying for the family’s hotel in Dallas while they wait to get a replacement passport.

Without being able to examine the passport, I guess I can’t second guess the DFW gate agent, but if the “damage” is exactly as it appears in news video, then it seems more like an instance of a gate agent in a bAAd mood.

My passport doesn’t look much better.

Anyway, go here to view the video for yourself, then come back and share your thoughts.

Flickr Photo: Screenshot taken of the original news video posted on the KDVR website.


  1. This looks really bad for AA, but I know that all airlines do this. Maybe not to this extent, but immigration officials in many countries will deny admission to holders of damaged passports, who will then have to be returned to their country of origin at the airline’s expense. I know there are more agents that don’t enforce it than do, but it does come back to the airline for boarding someone with a damaged passport, and the guidelines for “damaged” aren’t very clearly outlined.

  2. It seems pretty shaky for the GA to determine the RFID chip couldn’t be scanned because of that little crease. The State Dept notes that “Normal wear of a U.S. passport is understandable and likely does not constitute “damage”. For instance, the expected bend of a passport after being carried in your back pocket or fanning of the visa pages after extensive opening and closing.” Hard to say for sure but what’s shown on the video looks pretty normal.

    And as the man stated, if it was good enough at Denver, why wasn’t it good enough at DFW?

  3. I would not expect any more from AA. They have only service to compete with and have proven yet again that they just don’t give a shit.

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