A widow going on a family holiday managed to get to her destination on her dead husband’s passport – going through two passport checkpoints and security.
Blonde Pauline Briggs went through two checks at East Midlands Airport as she was jetting off to Fuerteventura showing the picture of her husband Paul – with his dark close hair cut and masculine features.
Pauline, aged 64, was horrified when she arrived with her granddaughter, grandson-in-law and their two children, when the officer at passport control looked at all five passports and then asked: “Where is Mr Briggs?”
The grandmother-of-10 said: “The question really threw me, I said ‘I’m Pauline Briggs’ but he said ‘But where is Mr Briggs?’ and I said ‘well... he’s dead.’
“He then showed us the passport and the mistake was realised.”
Pauline’s granddaughter, shop assistant Hannah Sampson, 21, was panic stricken and Pauline was all set to be sent back to her home in Kiveton Park, Rotherham.
Luckily, security on the Canary island allowed Pauline and her family through – leaving Pauline to sort out a temporary passport for the return journey.
In total, Pauline had gone through two passport checks at the English airport – one at check-in and again as she was boarding the plane.
She said: “I know it was my mistake to pick up the wrong passport but I was appalled at the lack of security.
“I would have expected that my error would mean I would have to go home and get another flight out, but because it was missed I got right through to Fuerteventura.
“I am an innocent holidaymaker but what if I had more sinister motives – it’s not very reassuring.”
The retired childcare social worker was going on holiday on the second anniversary of my husband’s death.
She said “Paul was just two weeks away from a bone marrow donor when he caught an infection and died after four years battling the illness. If he’d have had that then he would probably still be alive today.
“On the morning, at around 2.30am, of us leaving for our 7.50am flight, I had gotten mine and Paul’s passports and I was talking to Paul in his picture, telling him I was going.
“I can’t believe that I ended up taking his with me.”
Ryanair head of communications Robin Kiely said: “We have asked our third party handling agent at East Midlands to investigate this matter and ensure it does not recur.”
He advised that handling at East Midlands is carried out by Servisair, which has since been bought by Swissport.