An Indian-origin businesswoman managed to travel from UK’s Manchester city to New Delhi via Dubai on her husband’s passport before the serious security lapse was picked up in India, prompting the Emirates Airline to launch an investigation into the incident. Geeta Modha, who runs Alankar boutique in Rusholme area of Manchester, left for the airport with husband Dilip’s passport by mistake for a business trip on April 23.
The 55-year-old was able to check-in and board the flight and was waved through a stopover at Dubai on to New Delhi before the error was picked up, according to ‘Manchester Evening News’. As a holder of Overseas Indian Citizenship (OCI), Geeta was expected to produce her passport at Delhi immigration and was denied entry to India at that point.
“It’s scary and worrying that people aren’t checking properly,” she told the newspaper. “The fact they say they are so strict on security in airports but you can do this in 2018 is terrible. At check-in, the staff member even made me move stuff from one bag to another because it was 2 kg over – and yet let me travel with the wrong passport,” she said. Indian authorities made Geeta travel back to Dubai to wait for her own passport, which was flown to her by Emirates. “Like all airlines, we work closely with our airport handlers to ensure that all regulations relating to passport checks is taken very seriously. In this instance our usual high standards were not followed and we would like to apologise to Ms Modha,” a spokesperson of the airline said.
The airline said that airport handlers ensured that ongoing training is provided to all staff so that they are kept updated with all regulations and security procedures. “We are currently investigating how this incident occurred and are working closely with them to ensure that all training materials are properly reviewed and full retraining is provided for the staff involved,” the spokesperson added.
Geeta showed her passport at Manchester Airport during check-in and again before boarding her flight and was able to sail through customs. During her scheduled stop-over in Dubai, she did not have to show her passport because she had an OCI card. The error was only picked up as she was filling out her immigration form at Delhi Airport.
Manchester Airport said it was the airline’s responsibility to check identification.