Off to Norway With A Hitch

As much as I truly love the many aspects of travel, the airport process has never been a favorite of mine. There’s a lot of waiting followed by more waiting, delayed boarding and of course the dreaded periods of turbulence. However, this particular trip offered me a new experience: mistaken identity.

After checking in for my flight to Oslo, I preceded to security where I assumed I would go through the usual process of placing all my items and liquids through the machines. When I went up to the man to show my boarding pass and Passport, I was greeted with a confused stare. Let’s call this man John. So John was not convinced that this was actually my passport.

I’d like to also note that I watched this man shamelessly flirt with the woman in front of me so at first I assumed he was trying to be “cute”. Regardless of his initial intentions, I was now confused myself so I offered to show him two other forms of picture ID.

Apparently, this was not a good move on my part because John now thought that I had the ID of three different people. He said that he had to call in an expert to make sure that I am really who I say I am.

As it turned out, no such “expert” was on duty so one of John’s superiors came over to help. He asked me to step aside as he instructed me to stare into my eyes (very unromantically), smile as it shows on my Passport and to pull my hair back to show my ears. Luckily, he agreed that I was in fact whom all three of my IDs state that I am and I was allowed to continue on my way.

As much as I appreciate John doing his job, the fact that I could do nothing to prove my identity other than hope that his superior realized that this was a picture of me.

Although my hair is back to its natural brown color and I chose to rock a straightened look rather than my normal curls, I’m a bit alarmed that these officers expect me to look exactly as I did back in 2007…when I had a fuller face, bleached hair and parted my hair down the middle.

US citizens are only required to update their passports every decade, so I hardly think that we should be expected to look identical to how we did when the picture was taken.

My saving grace was my license picture, which thank goodness I decided to update when I renewed it back in November. If I did this process through the mail, I would have had my 16-year-old self to show John and I doubt this would have helped my case.

Despite the hitch, I made it to Norway safe and sound.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Cathy Sweeney February 13, 2012  1:46 pm Reply

    Glad you made it to Norway after all the confusion. I've had a couple of similar situations because of natural (and salon-created) changes in appearance. Nice pic from the plane window.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Sweeney’s Seven Super ShotsMy Profile

    • Megan February 13, 2012  4:47 pm Reply

      Thanks Cathy! It was certainly a strange experience and one I hope doesn't happen to me again...but I was determined to make it to Norway and I did :)
      Megan recently posted..Off to Norway With A HitchMy Profile

  2. Andrew February 13, 2012  3:11 pm Reply

    I wear glasses all the time. I have since I was too small to remember. They are just part of me. However I have had a couple of passport and license pictures where the picture taker insists I take them off. Ok, maybe it makes sense for "vanity" glasses or sunglasses, but I wear them all the time and look quite a bit different without them.

    Thankfully I guess my face looks enough like the pictures to never have had any problems. I don't even remember being asked to take off my glasses for a check. Except for at the UN, but just to scan them as "metal".
    I'm lucky I don't have my old license. I once had long hair and now nearly none.
    Andrew recently posted..Using German Numbers – A Travelers’ GuideMy Profile

    • Megan February 13, 2012  4:48 pm Reply

      I wear glasses a lot too Andrew...glad you've never had to prove your identity haha. I'm just glad they let me continue on to security. I'm going to make a point to carry multiple forms of ID with me when I go to the airport from now on.
      Megan recently posted..Off to Norway With A HitchMy Profile

  3. 50+ and on the Run February 14, 2012  11:16 am Reply

    Megan--every photo id I have looks like another woman. At the Frankfurt airport, the agent asked if that was "really my hair color." I told him yes, it was mine; after all, I HAD paid for it. No smile, no laugh, just a cool "you know I could have you detained" look. Oh, well.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    50+ and on the Run recently posted..Snow AngelsMy Profile

  4. Dayna February 14, 2012  12:44 pm Reply

    I had something similar happen to me once... I mean, I was 15 when I had my passport taken, and now I'm halfway to 30! My hair is changed, my weight has changed, my hair is sometimes curly and sometimes straight... I agree, it's absolutely ridiculous to assume someone would look the same throughout a decade!
    Dayna recently posted..Why Extreme Budget Travel is Not for MeMy Profile

    • Megan February 14, 2012  3:13 pm Reply

      Glad you agree...I was so frustrated by the whole situation. Hopefully it won't happen again!
      Megan recently posted..Off to Norway With A HitchMy Profile

  5. Natalie February 15, 2012  1:15 am Reply

    When I was going through Turkish customs, they always used to pull me up saying my picture looked different. Once I proved who I said I was, they always used to burst out laughing and say I look so much better now! They had a sense of humour unlike your blokes
    Natalie recently posted..The Burning Flames of ChimaeraMy Profile

    • Megan February 15, 2012  3:41 am Reply

      haha that's great that they had a sense of humor about it Natalie! I wish the people I dealt with acted the same.
      Megan recently posted..Off to Norway With A HitchMy Profile

  6. Joe W February 22, 2012  5:29 pm Reply

    good thing it ended well and that it happened in a civilized country. this could happen to any of us. next time itravel I'll make sure I get the looks of the pics in my passport hehehe..keep having fun! :)
    Joe W recently posted..St Louis | A Gateway to Fun and CultureMy Profile

 

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