Blonde girlfriend’s passport let dark-haired man fly from London to Germany

Not the first time it’s happened…

David bisson
David Bisson

Blonde girlfriend's passport let dark-haired man fly from London to Germany

A dark-haired man flew from London to Germany using his blonde girlfriend’s passport that he had picked up by mistake.

Meet Michael Randall. He’s a 24-year-old McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team technician. He’s currently dating 34-year-old Charlotte Bull, with whom he lives. Here’s a picture of them together.

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Michael Randall and girlfriend Charlotte Bull (Source: Charlotte Bull)

Cute couple, right?

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Quick question: did you notice they don’t look anything alike? The answer to that last question might be self-evident. But after everything that happened, it does deserve to be pointed out.

After returning home from a holiday in France with Bull, Randall left for a trip to Berlin to see a motorbike race. He grabbed his passport, boarded an easyJet flight at Gatwick Airport in south-east England, and disembarked in Germany. It’s only then that he noticed his mistake: he had accidentally grabbed Bull’s passport.

As he told the Sunday People:

“The first I knew something was wrong was when I arrived at Berlin airport. I thought honesty was the best policy so I went and told security.

“They pulled me aside and made me wait for the whole plane to disembark. At first I thought they were going to confiscate Charlotte’s passport.”

But they didn’t.

After undergoing a 90-minute grilling session from “quite aggressive” immigration officials, Randall received a one-day travel pass that allowed him to stay in Berlin. He subsequently alerted a colleague who was also traveling to Berlin to see the same race about the incident. That individual brought over Randall’s correct passport so that he wouldn’t need to leave the country early.

Bull was surprised to hear of the fiasco:

“It was a terrible breach of security, even more so considering how scary current times are.

“We mixed up the passports while unpacking, which was our fault. But there has been a massive error by the airline.”

That’s a fine way of thinking. But amidst a jetstream of similar incidents, not all airlines feel the blame ultimately falls on them.

Take Ryanair, for instance.

In February 2016, a 6’3″ bouncer named Josh Reed flew from London’s Stansted Airport to Dortmund, Germany by accidentally using his small brunette girlfriend’s passport. A spokesperson for the airline had this to say to The Daily Mail:

“Our handling agent at the boarding gate mistakenly failed to check the passport of this passenger, and Swissport have assured us that appropriate steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence.

“However, it is Mr Reed’s primary responsibility to ensure that he is travelling on his valid passport in compliance with Ryanair’s terms and conditions.”

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Josh Reed and his girlfriend (Source: The Daily Mail)

Ryanair is right… assuming there’s no one with malicious intent who’s ever boarded an airplane. Passengers can just as easily create fake passports to get somewhere where law enforcement and intelligence officials might not want them to go.

(Incidentally, they can also use those forged documents to hack people’s Facebook accounts.)

It’s therefore up to airport security to serve as the first line of defense in making sure everyone who boards a plane is who they say they are. Those holding that line should be skeptical of EVERYONE and wait to be proven otherwise by correct documentation.

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.

3 comments on “Blonde girlfriend’s passport let dark-haired man fly from London to Germany”

  1. Mark Jacobs

    There is no such thing as a "country". It is something made by humans for humans to remain divided over. Animals do not see country boundaries and do not require passports to go from, say, Belgium to France, as they cross a field. Country boundaries should disappear and all life on planet Earth can go anywhere it likes without the need for "documents". Tut! It's the 21st century with internet connections everywhere, and I'm still having to state the obvious.

    1. bob · in reply to Mark Jacobs

      Mixed messages. You talk of nature then say the internet is the cause – there isn't any internet in nature either!

  2. marc olanié

    It only proves one thing: you don't need a passport across Europe if you are a European citizen (after the application of the Brexit, Josh would probably be blocked at the border). When traveling from France to Germany or Belgium by road, I even don't have to show any picture ID… That's the "circulation freedom act" inside the Schengen zone.

    I don't even understand in which circumstances such an adventure has something to see with "security" in general and IT security more precisely. And I must admit that I sometime forgot to take my ID card, and had to use a professional ID (something definitely not official) to prove my identity.

    People living with in a paranoid environment, under the pressure of strong law enforcement always have a high demand for stronger restriction. This is a sociological fact.
    But for which reason should all European citizen act so stupidly?
    kindly yours

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