Heading to Germany? Be sure to sign your passport.

 Here's why you need to sign your passport. Photo:  Tony Webster /Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here's why you need to sign your passport. Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Germany is cracking down on airlines who allow passengers to board flights to the country without having signed their passports, United Airlines told employees recently. 

You're supposed to sign your passport, and most people do. But casual travelers sometimes don't know this is a requirement, and even though it does not seem like a big deal, some nations take it seriously. 

"German government officials have expressed concern over the substantial increase in United customers arriving at airports in Germany without proper documentation (mainly unsigned passports)," United told employees. "This has led to increased border irregularities, resulting in fines assessed against United."

There is an easy fix to this problem, but it requires airline workers to be diligent. United employees are supposed to check every passport signature page at the airport, just before you board. I believe other airlines do this as well. 

"The boarding [agent] is to verify customers have their passport in hand and that it is signed," United reminded employees. "Unsigned passports are to be signed by the customer in the presence of the boarding [agent] before being allowed on the aircraft.

Have you ever forgotten to sign your passport? Was it a problem?