Travel mishap lands woman 900 miles from destination with no passport in new country

She was told, 'You're entering a different country without a passport. That's bad.'

ByChad Pradelli WPVI logo
Friday, May 5, 2023
Travel mishap lands NJ woman 900 miles from destination with no passport in new country
Travel mishap lands NJ woman 900 miles from destination with no passport in new country

A New Jersey woman reached out to our sister station's investigative team at 6ABC after a travel mishap landed her nearly 900 miles from her final destination, in a different country without a passport.

Beverly Ellis-Hebard, of Gloucester County, is a self-described seasoned traveler. She jets back and forth from Philadelphia to her second home in Jacksonville, Florida, often.

"I fly once every six weeks. I picked Frontier flights because we flew so often," she said.

Ellis-Hebard said she arrived at the Frontier Airlines gate for her flight on Nov. 6, and the gate board read: PHL to JAX.

Recovering from back surgery and slower than usual, she asked an agent if she had enough time to run to the restroom.

"She said yes. You know, about 20 minutes," Ellis-Hebard recalled.

Ellis-Hebard said when she returned a short time later, she found the flight almost fully boarded and the jetway door about to close.

When she went to board her flight, the gate agent questioned the size of her personal travel bag, so she put it in the baggage sizer.

"I put it in and when I went to take it out my arm right here got all scraped up. I was bleeding," she said.

She said the gate agent then hurried her to board.

"She said, 'Come on, come on. Give me your boarding pass.' I would say I took about ten steps, and she said, 'Are you Beverly Ellis-Hebard?' I said, 'You just had my boarding pass. You just checked me in. Yes!' She said, 'All right, go! Go.'"

Once in flight, her reality set in.

The flight attendant tending to Ellis-Hebard's bloody wound said she'll be able to relax once they landed, in Jamaica!

"I laughed. I said 'I would love to be going there but I have a beach where I live,'" said Ellis-Hebard. "She said, 'Look at me. This plane is going to Jamaica.' And I knew by the look on her face she wasn't joking."

Here's the problem: Ellis-Hebard didn't pack a passport since she was staying stateside.

The flight crew told Ellis-Hebard the flight to Jacksonville had a gate change, and she was now heading to the Caribbean.

She was also told, "You're entering a different country without a passport. That's bad."

Ultimately, Jamaican authorities allowed Ellis-Hebard to remain in the jetway, which she was told is considered U.S. soil.

The flight crew remained with her until the next flight to Philadelphia took off several hours later.

When the Investigative Team contacted Frontier Airlines, they would only say the issue was addressed with airport personnel.

They also offered Ellis-Hebard a $600 voucher and refunded her original ticket.

Ellis-Hebard told Action News she really just wanted an apology.

"It should have never have happened because I did not have a passport. The woman at the gate did not do her job," she said.

The Investigative Team reached out to the TSA, FAA, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All agencies said it was up to the airline to match the passenger on its manifest.

Frontier Airlines issued the following statement in response to the ordeal:

"We extend our utmost apologies to Beverly Ellis-Hebard for this unfortunate experience. We sincerely regret that Ms. Ellis-Hebard was able to board the wrong flight.

As a gesture of our apology, we have issued a $600 Frontier Airlines flight voucher tied to the name Beverly Ellis-Hebard that is valid for one year."