When I sent in my application for passport renewal, the website said that it would take 8-10 weeks. I sent it in 12 weeks before my flight. Now the website says 10-12 weeks, but that it not true either. Talking with them, I find out that people have been waiting 14-17 weeks to get their passports. Since the new passport laws went into effect, they are treating ALL passports as new passports, so whether you are renewing your passport or applying for a new passport, it is being processed the same. And that's not to mention the increased demand for passports.
Why can't they be truthful? If I would have known 11 weeks ago that I would need 17 weeks for regular processing, I would have borrowed the extra $60 from someone for the expedited processing. It still would have taken a long time, but I would have had it by now.
The website and phone system say not to worry and NOT to contact them if your travel time is more than 14 days away. In fact you can't even speak to anybody unless you have 14 days or less until your trip. They say that they have hired additional people to make sure that nobody misses their trip. All of that feel-good talk is bullshit! If they were upfront and honest with me in the beginning, I would have had plenty of time to make alternate plans.
I asked if I could have my old passport back, and they said that there would be no guarantee that I would get my documents back in time for my flight.
The options now are to drive, spending very close to $1,000 in gas, or to take the bus. The 3-day bus ride is $408. The bus is the only choice.
My sister and her family are in the same boat. My nephew is the only one who has a valid passport.