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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 12:22 GMT
Husband flies with wife's passport
Passport fiasco
Businessman Julian Morris flew with his wife's passport
A businessman who accidentally flew to Italy and back using his wife's passport has said he is amazed he was able to pass through airport security.

Computer graphics specialist Julian Morris caught a British Midland flight from Heathrow Airport to Venice on Thursday, 12 February with his wife, Marilyn's passport.

Despite being six feet tall and slightly overweight with grey hair, Mr Morris, who only realised his error much later into his business trip, claims her passport was checked several times by airport staff, and twice by UK and Italian immigration.

The 57-year-old, from Appleton in Oxford, says he is "extremely surprised" no-one realised he had the wrong passport as he does not "bear any resemblance to his 5ft 7in brown-haired wife".

Human error

Mr Morris said: "My wife and I had travelled to Paris the previous weekend and our passports were in the same drawer. I accidentally picked up her one.

"My passport was checked numerous times on the outbound and return journeys by airline, airport and immigration staff at Heathrow and Marco Polo airports."

Mr Morris, who is director of an Oxford-based computer graphics company, added: "One cannot possibly blame the individuals involved since every one made the same mistake.

Marilyn Morris
A passport photograph of Mrs Marilyn Morris

"However, this type of check clearly does not work in such circumstances as it requires an impossible level of vigilance.

"The only answer is to use first-line automatic biometric checks on face, fingerprint or other personal features.

"These too will make mistakes, but possibly not at the rate of a tired human being."

Investigation under way

A spokeswoman for British Midland said: "We will investigate the claims made by Mr Morris.

"The airline cannot discuss individual passengers so we are unable to comment further."

A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: "Our security staff do not get involved in the passport side of things.

"They scrutinise boarding cards and screen luggage, which Mr Morris would have been subject to."

Mr Morris, who flies out of the country at least once a month for his business, said his 54-year-old wife took the passport mix-up well.

"Thankfully, Marilyn saw the funny side of the scenario," he added.

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