Travel Alert-  Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online!

Travel Alert- Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online!

Hello all you beautiful people out there!  I wanted to take just a quick moment this morning to alert you all to something I have stumbled upon now twice in the past 48 hours.  United Airlines is now, seemingly, requiring passengers traveling from the US Virgin Islands to upload a copy of their passports in order to check in online.

Over the weekend, Teddy and I ran a term charter and the guests on board were attempting to check in for their outbound flight.  I wasn’t really paying too much attention to what was going on as I was cleaning up from breakfast.  But, then I overheard them having problems with uploading their passports for check-in.  I was like…wait a minute….

Travel Alert- Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online! 1

They were traveling to Boston via a domestic layover on United.  I insisted that couldn’t be right as I have NEVER needed a copy of my passport to check in online.  They gave up on their attempts and decided to check in at the counter in person instead and we went about our day.  But, upon further investigation this morning I stumbled upon a commentary written in the Source by a USVI resident who was having the same issues with United earlier this month.

Travel Alert- Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online! 2

Her report says that she called the airline after running into a similar issue and “learned that United now considers residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands to be international visitors to the mainland U.S.”  Which means that visitors will also need to upload a copy of their passports in order to check in online to travel home.

Now, I’m not sure what this means for those of you flying on United with the USVI as your destination, but I would love to hear from you if anyone has had a similar issue.  It is incredibly busy down here right now, with summer vacation in full swing, and if United is disallowing anyone without a passport to check in online then their ticket counter is likely to be SWAMPED on day of travel!

As we all know, throughout the course of the everchanging COVID mandates over the past year, the airlines sometimes are a bit more in the slow lane of the information superhighway 🙂  And WE all know that the US Virgin Islands are, in fact, a domestic destination.  But, this is what is currently happening with United Airlines.  And, weirdly, I went through the steps of booking a flight with United all the way to the payment information to investigate this further and was not prompted to enter my passport number anywhere in the booking process.  I have not heard of it happening with any other airlines as of now, but if you are visiting us in the near future and you have a passport, bring it along in order to expedite your airport experience with online check in and avoiding the ticket counter.

Travel Alert- Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online! 3

To those of you who do not have a passport, don’t freak out!  We are a domestic destination and a passport is NOT required to get home and I’m sure the folks locally here at the ticket counter understand that.

If you read the article in the link above, you might agree with me when I say that it sounds like some kind of an automated update happened with United’s systems and hopefully this will all be rectified soon!

And to all of you, as mentioned above, it is BUSY in the USVI right now.  So, arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure and check out the new bar in the duty free area, the new café or the variety of shopping kiosks within the airport.  Oh, and WIFI is free too, so you can get a head start on uploading all of your vacation photos and reliving your magical trip to St. John  🙂

14 thoughts on “Travel Alert- Bring Your Passport to Check-In Online!”

  1. I had issues with checking in with a Passport CARD for my 16yr old. The counter attendant said the cards are to be used for boat travel, not airlines. What? Eventually they contacted someone higher up and said Passport Cards are fine, but next time we go, I’ll be bringing a birth certificate for her. What a pain.

  2. My sister in law from Uk was traveling on a separate booking with us last week. We were traveling back to Miami on American and she had no issue checking in on line

  3. We flew home July 11 on United & had to provide passport info to check in on line. Bit of a new wrinkle but a 4:30 flight meant no lines (no bags to check) at the airport & we even arrived 15 minutes early at Dulles!

    • We’re traveling to the Island towards the end of August from New England and have come to the Island for the past 15 years and noticed a large increase in visitors and beaches actually becoming slightly crowded. Have the beaches been crowded and is it still difficult to find a place to eat without a reservation?

  4. Reluctantly and regretfully, I moved recently from St. John back to Atlanta, GA, and I discovered upon filing my taxes that I was now considered a “Resident Alien” by the IRS for my 2021 tax return now that I was a resident of Georgia. It’s bewildering.

  5. It is a shame when these things happen and mostly it is with persons that do not know where we are located on the map. They should give better training to the persons working in those positions. We must be careful where we upload our personal information

  6. I flew back on July 10th on United and had to upload our passports in order to check in online. I was not asked for any passport information when I purchased our tickets. This is the first time I have had to do this when returning from STT.

  7. Flew down on Delta from JFK 7/9/22. They announced STT was an INTERNATIONAL destination & passports were required to board the plane. REALLY?
    It took 30 mins & numerous calls to ‘high ups’ for this to be reversed. Uproar at the gate.
    Many asked if the JFK gate staff were new? First day on the job? (No responses provided).
    No clue what’s going on? But something seems to be causing issues for so many travelers on many carriers.

  8. Why do they make it so frustrating at seemingly every turn to travel to/from our USVI!!???!! Hope no other airline follows suit!

  9. We have been coming to St. John for 12 years and have never had to have a passport to check-in online for United. We are actually arriving tomorrow, flying United. Evidently there are new rules! I just received a text from United:

    As you prepare for your upcoming United flight, we encourage all passengers departing USVI to have their passport on hand. Although this is not a requirement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched an enhancement in their screening process to assist in facilitating your departure from St. Thomas. While we work together with them, our App and United.com will only allow customers with passport to check in online. Passengers with another form of Gov’t. issued ID will have to Check In at the airport.

    So, bring your passport if you have one.

  10. Last winter United was refusing to let me check in online with no explanation–I’d upload my Covid test, my VI travel portal OK, and everything they asked for, then the site would just hang. I would have to go to a counter at the airport to check in. I really prefer to avoid that since I only travel with a carry-on and can go straight to security. I assumed it had something to do with the Covid tests, but they never said.

    I never had that problem returning, however. I don’t know how I would upload my passport from the resort’s computer terminal and I really don’t want to have to go to to the counter in St. Thomas. As if air travel weren’t bad enough already!

    PS–United was also having the flight attendants hand out some made-up Covid form for passengers to fill out, and nobody every asked you for it.

  11. Does anyone have any info on JetBlue flights from direct from Boston? For at least the past 15 years they have always flown daily in the winter and right now it looks like they are only available on Saturday. Any info would be much appreciated.
    Thank you!

  12. The problem described above extends to all United international travel. It is now January 2024. United’s online check-in is insisting that I upload an image of my passport. Without getting into the weeds, let’s just say that both the PC and mobile app process failed. A one hour call to United arrived at a supervisor who said that this is a known problem.

Leave a Comment