My family recentlyhad a horrible experience on a planned trip to Israel. We were not allowed to board the plane in Detroit because my son's passport (13 years old) was valid 'only' until November. Even though we have flown to Israel and other places on numerous occasions, we were not aware of a rule that many countries have which requires that travellers' passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel.
Not only did we lose $thousands, but the emotional impact on us and our family in Israel was devastating. In browsing the web, I have seen many many reports of similar disastrous situations.
My question to the list - especially to legal experts: is it appropriate for the airline to in essence serve as the "border guards" of a foreign nation, while denying a US citizent the right to travel on a valid passport? I understand that the airlines face a possible fine (at least this is what I was told) if they allow a passenger to board with less than six months left on their passport.
But if the airline presumes the authority to prevent a citizen from traveling on a valid passport, do they not also have the responsiblity to clearly communicate this in advance to any passenger who is flying to a destination that is affected by the 6 month rule?
I can imagine that $millions are lost each year by passengers who are denied boarding due to the seemingly arbitrary enforcment of this rule. I am not a lawyer, but I see the potential for a class-action lawsuit against all the airlines that impose this restriction withour suffienct advance notice.