Saturday, January 30, 2016

Paperwork to make it all work

Zoe has by now traveled by herself, with family members and with our friends. She says she likes flying with her mom the most, and I have to admit that I hate flying anywhere without her. But the life we live always takes us into situations where I need to send her with someone else or where we have to find creative ways of getting her from A to B. This leads to a lot of paperwork, paperwork that doesn't always go the way it was supposed to because, well, this is just not a common situation.

Last time Zoe flew by herself I was flying back to New York at the same time and we therefore didn't need the escort to the gate. The guy at the check-in counter got confused and kept an essential piece of paper instead of giving it to Zoe. I thanked myself for being foreseeable enough to make sure Zoe landed in Stockholm before I took off from Copenhagen: I got a desperate phone call from an SAS stewardess who was not allowed to hand over Zoe to anyone since she did not have the legal document to do so. I reassured her that it was fine to hand Zoe over to her father, but she proceeded to yell at me for not making sure the paperwork was in order. "I could lose my job", she said in Swedish and I felt terrible. But Zoe was reunited with her dad and I took off for New York, paperwork or no paperwork.

Last year when my two friends were bringing Zoe back to New York, I had a near heart attack when the immigration officer called me, telling me that the letter I had provided them with was worth absolutely nothing and that he had no intention of letting Zoe enter the country with them. We managed anyway and since then I make sure people have a notarized letter when flying anywhere with Zoe. Interestingly Zoe's dad tells me he never had any problems entering United Kingdom with her by himself, despite them not having the same type of passport (I presume he lets her enter on her Danish one, I know he hasn't claimed her British one yet even though she is entitled to one).

It is also sometimes just difficult to get the right kind of plane ticket. On Monday I'm flying to Stockholm to see her for a week but since she has been in Copenhagen this weekend to visit her grandparents and our other relatives (she adores her 2 year old cousin who is due to have a little sister soon) it made sense that I pick her up there instead of letting her fly back alone. I was on the phone for 20 minutes with a helpful but clueless SAS sales representative. "Since she is under 12 she is an unaccompanied minor and has to have an escort, that will be 300 Kr extra". "No, she does not need that since I'm on the same flight," I said and gave him my reference number. "But that flight is from New York", he proclaimed and I had to point out that I had a layover in Copenhagen where I intended to pick her up. He paused for a bit too long where I wondered if he was trying to figure out if this was real. "Oh, I see", he finally said, "that will be 250 Kr in service fee for ordering the ticket over the phone. "No, it will not; since she is under 12 years old, I cannot make this reservation online, so there should be no service fee". He finally agreed and I got her ticket. Now I can't wait to see her, and spend every single hour with her for five days. Hopefully without any issues of paperwork.

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