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American Airlines lost passport

Washington DC...
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American Airlines lost passport

This might be a weirdly-too-specific question about US passports and the State Department to be answered here, but I couldn't find a forum that was a better fit. Since it involves an airline, I'll give it a try.

I lost my passport between JFK and home (the DC area) while traveling this summer. I immediately contacted American Airlines, JFK, and DCA. Both airports got back to me - no luck - and AA sent a form e-mail saying they were looking and would be in touch. I had a flight to Canada two weeks later, so I declared the passport lost and got a new one. American continued to send me occasional form e-mails saying they hadn't found it.

This morning I get a text and e-mail that my passport has been recovered. (Thanks, passenger who finally checked the seat pocket in the last row, I'm guessing.) I'm relieved it's been found. I click the link in the e-mail to get the details. Turns out it was recovered at DCA - where I could have picked it up this weekend - and then sent to American Airlines' lost luggage facility in Dallas. There's no pickup option and the cheapest shipping they list (3-day Fed Ex) is over $20. Which seems like a lot for something small, flat, and invalidated.

My question is this - if unclaimed, will American Airlines eventually send my passport to the State Department? And if they receive it, will the State Department send it back to me or destroy it? I'm probably going to bite the bullet and pay, as my passport had some stamps I'm fond of, but I'm curious as to what airlines are legally required to do in the case of government property.

22 replies to this topic
Dallas, Texas
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1. Re: American Airlines lost passport

how exactly did American Airlines lose your passport? You said you left it in a seat back pocket.

Milford, Ohio
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2. Re: American Airlines lost passport

It's only $20.00 - I'd just pay the money and get it back. I don't think anyone can tell you what may happen next. Good Luck and Safe Travels.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: American Airlines lost passport

I don't think the OP meant that in the title. I think they meant they lost their passport on American Airlines but didn't covey that correctly in the title.

OP, I'd get in touch with AA and ask them that question.

Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: American Airlines lost passport

Interesting questions.

I see zero culpability on AA's part. They kept the case open, but unfortunately the Passport was not found, until DFW. Just bad timing, as the ship was not a "yo-yo," going only between JFK and DCA, but then, it could have ended up in JFK.

I'd just pay the $20, to keep the voided Passport, but then have a thick envelope of all of mine.

At least glad that it was found.

Good luck,


Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: American Airlines lost passport

Deceiving title. Thread should be deleted.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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6. Re: American Airlines lost passport

I agree, AA didn't lose it and at the rapid rate they turn planes around it just doesn't allow cleaners time to check every pocket. OP should never have left such an important document out of her sight, imho. I have flagged it as needing to be deleted. Unfair to the airline.

Wales, United...
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7. Re: American Airlines lost passport

the title iesn't accurately reflect what happened but American are involvd because it's at their lost property centre.

$20 seems a reasonable enough amount to pay to me for the return odf something so important.

Silver Spring...
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8. Re: American Airlines lost passport

Why is this a big deal? If you want it back, pay for shipping. It's been voided, so if you don't want it, just don't pay.

I think it's amazing it was found at all. It's not AA's fault it was left on the plane.

Kent, United Kingdom
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9. Re: American Airlines lost passport

You left it in the seat pocket.... not the airline's fault.... Yours entirely.

If you want it back, then pay the cost of getting it back.....

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10. Re: American Airlines lost passport

I'd pay the $20 which seems reasonable, even if the passport is voided, if only to keep any useful ID data out of unknown hands (though that ship might have sailed by now).

As for what would AA would do with it if unclaimed, you can ask them, surely?

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