Prelude to Roatan: The Trip That Nearly Didn’t Happen (Twice)

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My final post on Roatan takes us back to the beginning…

Have you ever found yourself in a position to renew your passport in, oh, a couple hours and it’s the FRIDAY AFTERNOON before your Saturday morning flight?

Or found out while checking-in to your flight that your name on your plane ticket has been spelled wrong?

*   *   *   *   *

Act I. Scene I.

(Somewhere in an outer borough of NYC.)

Our Roatan flight was scheduled for early Saturday morning. On Friday afternoon, I was all packed and I logged on to my computer to check-in for my flight. As I began entering my passport details, I noticed that the plane ticket was issued in my maiden name (my passport is in my married name). What the f*@#$!

(Cue panic.)

A rising feeling of panic and that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach began to develop, and thoughts of having to cancel the ticket, pay cancellation fees, and buy a new one at the current exorbitant price had me at immobile.

I quickly checked all my past emails from Continental. Yep, all addressed to my maiden name.

I’m normally very careful about booking plane tickets and could have sworn that I double-checked the name when I booked because it’s often misspelled. I booked the tickets under my frequent flyer account, but never updated the name when I got married – could that be the problem?

I could carry a copy of my marriage certificate with me to the airport indicating the name change – but I was married over four years ago – so I didn’t know if that was a valid excuse anymore.

I shakingly got on the phone and called Continental.

(Cue on-hold music.)

I think I might have held my breath the whole time I was on-hold.

Finally, someone got on the phone and after I explained the whole situation I was put me on hold again.

(Cue more on-hold music.)

When the agent returned, she told me that she had made the change to my ticket to reflect the name on my passport. No questions asked! I was so shocked, afraid that they’d change their minds, or ask me to pay that I didn’t ask, How? What? Why? Who? Me?

My only guess is that my full name that I used for the booking was actually in the system but it was just printed, as I mentioned before, with the name on my frequent flier account.

BIG SIGH of relief – Whew!

Next, I texted my friend Nic, who was on the same flight as me, and offered to check her in as I knew she was still busy working.

*   *   *   *   *

Act II. Scene I.

(Somewhere in another outer borough of NYC.)

“Will need your passport # and expiration,” I texted Nic.

“xxxxxxxxx Expiry aug 8 2011” Nic texted back.

“2011?” Hoping she meant to text 2012.


“Your pp has to be valid 6 months past your entry date to Honduras!” I frantically replied.

“Oh sh*t! F*ck!” 

“Ok. Let me google emergency pp renewal.”

*   *   *   *   *

Act II. Scene II.

(Nic had left her house and had just arrived in Manhattan for work even though it was her day off.)

“Lookup passport office in Manhattan,” came Nic’s next message.

(It’s now 1pm.)

“376 Hudson Street 10014. Closes at 3pm,” I text back. Praying that she had her passport with her and didn’t have to cab it back to her house to retrieve it.

(Nic decides that work is no longer a priority at the moment.)

“Google passport photos in that area.”

“CVS – Christopher and W 4th”

“I have photos.”


“In cab. Going there now – phone dead.”

“Is this phone working?” I quickly text her work cell.

“Barely as well,” she responds.

(I call the passport office hotline and the earliest appointment they can give her is August 10th. But our flight was July 30th. I’m hoping she can talk her way through the “gatekeeper.”)


“Keep praying! I’m past the gatekeeper. Only 70 people ahead of me.”

(I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If she can’t get her passport renewed today, she could get it Monday morning and fly out then.)


“I’m all good! Just waiting for it to be processed! Should be about an hour.”

“I’ll keep holding my breath until u have pp in hand.”

“Me too!”


“Breathe – passport in hand!”

“Hurray! Big breath! Crazy day!”

Another BIG BIG sigh of relief and lots of head shaking at the drama that constantly spices up our lives.

So there you have it, two emergency situations that nearly caused my friend and I to miss out on this amazing trip to Roatan.

*   *   *   *   *

I’ve written enough about Roatan this week so it’s time to go back to our regularly scheduled FOOD programming. But I’ll leave you with the following two underwater videos that I filmed in Roatan:

(1) Two Juvenile Spotted Drums:

(2) Green Turtle with Two Remoras Attached:

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  1. Love Love LOVE your turtle video!

    Well done on getting your crises sorted out at the very last minute… you'd have made an excellent travel agent :o))

  2. Wow! That is, only in retrospect, an awesome story to tell people. It's one of those nail-biting tales that turns out a-ok in the end. So glad you managed to get everything sorted 🙂