New Passport Regs Could Hamper Spring Break Plans

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 8:13 pm
By: News On 6

Hundreds of residents across eastern Oklahoma are getting all packed up for Spring Break trips. If you're headed to popular destinations in Mexico or anywhere outside the U.S., be warned. The News On 6’s Heather Lewin reports there is one item you can't leave home without.

“Most travelers that travel during spring break are leisure travelers so they haven't come through the airport and experienced these regulations," said Alexis Higgins of Tulsa Airport Authority.

For example the liquid and gel rule is still in effect. Anything like shampoo or suntan lotion in carry on must be travel-sized and fit into one quart-sized bag per person. But the big change is having a passport. Don't leave home without it or you won't be going anywhere.

“If you're traveling abroad to Cancun, whether it's Mexico, Canada or Bermuda you have to have a passport now, whereas before that was not a requirement," said Higgins.

And the bad news is, if you're leaving this weekend and you don't have one yet, it's just too late. Higgins worries for travelers used to Spring Break traditions and unaware of the new policy. Nothing else can be substituted for a passport.

“I think typically you hear about students going to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta or those types of destinations and previously they could just have a birth certificate and that was sufficient," Higgins said.

Spring Break is the first major travel event since the new rules went into effect, so airport officials want to remind everyone what will happen if you're traveling outside the U.S. and you show up without a passport.

"You won't board the airplane,” said Higgins. “You'll be staying in Tulsa."

You could still drive across the border without a passport, but only until 2008 when the same rules will apply to land and sea travel.