As passport waiting times continue to be frustrating across the country, a Vancouver woman has taken matters into her own hands to save time by flying into Edmonton to avoid long lines.
Whitney B., who declined to give her last name to Black Press Media for privacy reasons, said she drove past the Richmond passport office around 10 p.m. on June 14 and found two people already waiting for her. Staying in line overnight until 8:30 a.m. when the office opened seemed impossible as she juggled her commercial trucking job alongside her role as a local food influencer.
“Not everyone has six hours to wait,” she said.
She thought about visiting Victoria, but that would cost more time and money than a trip to Edmonton, she said. She disqualified the passport office in Kelowna because they don’t do urgent passport renewals.
“There was nothing I could do to plan ahead. Nobody is going to lose their passport, right? I contacted a few people to hold the line, but they were weak. It seemed to me that even if I paid them, there was no guarantee that they would be there the next morning or that they would not sell my place to someone else, ”she said.
She was inspired to travel to avoid waiting when she saw people from Toronto, Ontario posting on social media about their travels to Quebec for a passport replacement.
@twofoodpiggies It cost a lot more to go to Edmonton than to spend the night at YVR. #canadian passport #passport #Edmonton #vancouverpassport #flairairlines #passport hacking ♬ Running up the hill (Deal with God) [2018 Remaster] — Kate Bush
Whitney documented her passport fiasco on TikTok. Since its publication, reviews have been mostly positive. Some commentators congratulated her on her out-of-the-box thinking. However, Whitney also read messages that said that people who have to wait for hours are simply ill-prepared for the journey, which she did not notice.
“Of everyone I spoke to in the waiting room, basically everyone sent their passports for renewal three to four months ahead of schedule. Whatever happens at the passport office, they don’t get their passports on time,” she said.
The airfare cost Whitney $87 for a round-trip flight through Flair, a discount company.
Her time at the Edmonton office lasted approximately two and a half hours, including waiting for the passport officer, who was allowed to replace her lost passport in one day.
The Edmonton office did not require Whitney to confirm travel within the next 24 hours. Everyone from security to the passport officer and even the people waiting next to her helped, she said.
“I cannot say that if you had done the same as me, you would have been able to get your passport,” she said. “I considered myself very lucky in this situation.”
According to Passport Canada, an oversupply of passport applications results in waiting times that exceed the service standards listed on its website. It prescribes not to agree on travel plans before obtaining a passport. He also notes that any refund of the service delay fee is suspended for submitted applications until June 30th.