Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Mistaken Identity

Sun, 20 May 2007

I'm actually presenting at Digital Mapping Techniques this week, hence the flight out of Gatwick, via Philadelphia, to Columbia (South Carolina). From my brief visit to the tourist attractions website, Columbia is one of only a few cities with four inter-states running right through it. Not something I would shout about.

Anyway, one uneventful flight over to Philadelphia and a 10 minute wait at Immigration led to me the "Secondary Inspection Office" where I was informed I had an outstanding warrant for my arrest. Now being the law abiding fellow that I am, I knew there hasn't ever been a warrant issued for my arrest and, in this instance, turns out to be one of the less pleasurable aspects of being an anonymous Smith. Not having travelled to the US in over 10 years, the name on an unknown passport was flagged up. I have to admit to being just a little nervous, however the officer for Homeland Security was, I am positive (!), John Goodman (Roseanne, King Ralph etc etc) and (thankfully) rapidly cleared up the mistaken identity. Interestingly though, amongst all the "due process", no one ever got around to taking my fingerprints and photo.

Even after all that, the bags still weren't out which left 1hr 20mins to re-check the bags, make a slow trawl through security and catch a bus across what seemed like half of Philadephia. Moral of the story is that 2 hour changeovers can often be a tight call.

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Ken wrote at 2007-05-21 11:19:

Full body search sir?

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