Where is your Passport right now?

think mine is in the top drawer of the cabinet on my side of the bed.

My passport has had to shed its shell and like me, find a new home every few months. And while that means she’s gaining some exceptional life experience, she’s also at high risk of being…lost.

Well before a new destination or home; even before baggage collection or the arrivals hall, my acute passport paranoia begins at the departure gate prior to boarding the flight.

Is this just me? Surely we all share some level of passport dysphoria!

“Now boarding all Zone 2 passengers”, the call arrives.

That’s the sign folks. Cue relentless fidgeting. A quadruple pocket check, followed by countless outside pocket taps to assert the texture and dimensions of a typical passport.

In the last 2.5 seconds, since the last assurance check, did my passport manage to walk itself out of my trouser pockets? It would have had to grow some sort of ability to clutch items, then it would undo the zipper of the pocket, and then make an escape. Unlikely, but possible.

Ok – made it into the plane.

Where is your passport in-flight? In your pocket? Could fall out while you’re asleep. Worse yet, could land in the crevice between your seat and the one next to you. Catastrophically, it could even fall under your chair, kicked around (unintentionally) by the passenger behind you and now it’s been dragged under another seat before making its way to the aisle!

Doom.

Ok, pocket plan doesn’t work, next?

What about that dodgy fishnet seat pocket in front of you? Clear line of sight. Easily accessible. Won’t get bent or put out of shape. And best of all, no chance of getting to the elephant graveyard – the aisle.

Hold up.

What if you’re in the middle seat?

‘What if?!’ You ask.

Maybe I’ve watched Bourne one too many times but the thought of having my passport in plain public sight is unnerving. The dispositions of the person on either side of me (unless it’s my partner) are none of my business, and so, I’ll maintain a safety-first predisposition.

Moreover, it’s now exposed to the elements aka the food tray! With cattle class getting smaller and smaller, I vividly see a situation where my Vino has found its way to generously colour Page 2 – all those priceless European immigration stamps gone!

Surely there’s a better option.

Only one real option left now. It goes in the above-seat storage compartment.

Advantages:

  • Your passport is stored in your personal belongings
  • Your passport is secure
  • There are layers on top of layers of defence ensuring your passport doesn’t escape
  • Sleep like a king/queen knowing the above
  • Hey, go nuts with that Pinot because a little spillage here and there will only add character to that emergency procedure card. No passport in sight here.

Intrusive Thoughts:

  • It’s not in your immediate line of sight, so is it really safe to fall asleep?
  • Make sure the passport is at the very bottom of your bag, on the side that isn’t facing the aisle, JUST IN CASE, the compartment door somehow flings open mid-flight.

Is this all a little whack?

Of course it is.

Despite this, I think I’ve worked out a winning formula for myself (and maybe for you).

On domestic flights (international Europe), I keep my passport in the seat pocket in front of me, in my direct line of sight. A short flight means no snoozing and most importantly, no food and beverage threat.

For long-haul flights; It goes into my carry-on and into cabin storage. There just isn’t another way. The best I can do is have it stored directly above me. Years of travelling and the ensuing passport placement madness have led me to believe this is actually just normal, that is, putting your passport in your bag and enjoying the bloody flight.

Anyway, did you find your passport?

Mine was actually in my laptop bag.

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