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Defective passport leads to honeymoon nightmare

Bride and groom not allowed on flight
Posted: 3:25 PM, Aug 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-27 20:28:25Z

Justin and Samantha Kornhaus are supposed be honeymooning on the beach in Mexico right now.

But instead, they're stuck at home because of a passport glitch that prevented them from boarding their plane the day after their dream wedding,

"It's devastating because at that point you're not sure what you could have done to rectify the situation," Samantha Kornhaus said.

New passport has an issue

Just 24 hours after their wedding, the couple went to fly out of John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, with their brand new U.S. Passports in hand. They had never used the passports before.

But at the airline check-in kiosk, Justin Kornhaus said: "We scanned them, but hers was having a problem scanning, and it said 'unknown problem' and told us to go to the desk."

A desk clerk attempted to scan and then manually type in all her information, but even then it came back with an error, the couple says.

Then came the devastating news: They could not get on the plane.

"They said, "We've come to the conclusion there is something wrong with her passport,'" he said.

They had to go home and unpack their honeymoon luggage.

So whose fault was it? The airport? The airline? The TSA? Or the passport office, which the couple suspects may have made a printing error?

They hired an attorney, Scott Hoberg, who is now investigating and contacting the airline and U.S. Passport Office.

What may have happened

He says what happened is a mystery, since the bride's passport is not visibly damaged. But he suspects a problem with the RFID chip now embedded in all passports.

"We're not 100 percent sure yet," Hoberg said. "There should be chips included in those passports that should have redundancies built in if there are issues with scanning."

The Kornhauses are now trying to collect on their travel insurance, but may have to wait for a letter from the passport office to file their claim.

Their storybook wedding has now been tainted.

"We really went through a stage of grief," Samantha Kornhaus said.

If you receive a new passport in the mail, you may want to use it first to fly domestically, where agents could spot the problem, but still allow you on the plane (a drivers' license is good enough for a domestic flight).

However, if your passport has any visible damage, such as a tear or is badly creased, you may want to ask an airline agent to check it weeks before your flight, so you don't waste your money.

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