No, An Printout Is Not Recognized As ID

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Passport, please.

Well-known travel ombudsman Christopher Elliott operates a website called It invites consumers who have a beef against a travel company to tell their story. If the “advocacy team” at believes the consumer has a case, they will investigate.

But sometimes they don’t have to, because it’s so obvious the error was made by the consumer and not the travel supplier.

Here’s a case in point. American Barbara Vannier’s adult daughter tried to check in for a Royal Caribbean cruise that included a Canadian stop, with a driver’s license and – get this -- a printout from

“My daughter had sent off for her passport months before — expedited service — enclosing her birth certificate,” Vannier told Michelle Couch-Friedman at “Unfortunately, being the government, it didn’t arrive on time. Instead, we took an printout, a reliable source, with her date and location of birth to check-in.”

It is unclear how Vannier came to believe that an unofficial paper printed from home – even one from a reliable source -- could be sufficient identification to enter a foreign country. But Royal Caribbean soon clarified: It isn’t.

“Then they sent a heavy escort to place her in a cab,” Vannier told the website, before asking for an apology from Royal Caribbean and a full cash refund for her daughter’s missed vacation.

Couch-Friedman had this comment: “This story is a reminder of the importance of understanding that in today’s world, there are firm and unbending identification rules for international travellers. And gone are the days where American citizens can casually cross our northern or southern borders with little to no official documentation.”

She added that stories like this are common. “Several times a month, we receive a complaint from a traveller who has shown up at the air or cruise port without the proper identification for travel. Invariably this mistake has turned into an unexpected expense, and the consumer wants our help to retrieve their money.

“Regrettably, there is nothing that our advocacy team can do in these types of situations.

It can’t be restated often enough — it is always the traveler’s responsibility to know and possess the required documents for their intended destination. In fact, every airline and cruise line has this information incorporated into their terms and conditions.”

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