Say you’re flying today, and arrive at the TSA checkpoint at the airport.
Boarding pass? Check.
COVID vaccine card? Check.
The only thing is, you don’t need your COVID vaccine card to get through the TSA checkpoint. If you’re flying internationally, you won’t need it until you get to the gate. If you’re flying domestically, you won’t need it at all (nope, not even for Hawaii, because you’ve filled out your Safe Traveler info ahead of time). So, in your rush, you shove the card halfway into your coat pocket and it falls out as you’re getting ready to put everything through X-ray.
You don’t notice it’s gone until you have to show it at the gate on your way to Iceland. Or the restaurant where you have dinner reservations on your trip to NYC.
Ugh! What do you do???
Well, don’t panic…it happens much more often than you think. In fact, it happens a LOT. Here are all the COVID vaccine cards left at Dulles Int’l Airport in December 2021, alone.
Yep, just 1 airport in 1 month.
So what CAN you do?
If you leave your COVID card behind at the TSA checkpoint, are still at the airport, and have time, the first thing you can try is to go back to the TSA checkpoint.
If you’ve already left, you can check TSA’s lost & found. Their website provides a list of contact information for each airport’s lost and found. Items left behind at TSA security checkpoints are held by TSA for a minimum of 30 days or until the item is reunited with the original owner.
But let’s say you’ve left your COVID vaccine card at a U.S. airport that you won’t be going back to. Then what?
TSA says passengers can approve someone else to pick the card up for them. It can also be shipped back at the passenger’s expense.
If worse comes to absolute worst, you can always look into getting your card replaced, after you get back home. Here’s how to do that.
Meanwhile, whether you’re traveling or not, don’t let your actual card be the only copy of your COVID card that you have. At the very least, have a copy of the front of your card on your phone. If you’re concerned about privacy, get a password-protected app. I use KeepSafe (it’s available on the App Store and Google Play). It’s easy to use, and free (with ads. Or a small price to get rid of the ads) but there are a bajillion apps out there that do the same thing.
For many, having your COVID vaccine card is your passport to get you to the places you want to be. Be careful with it. But at least if you lose it at the TSA checkpoint, it may not be gone forever.
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