Man Thrown In Jail for Not Looking Like His Passport Photo

A UK resident of 15 years flew to his mother’s funeral in Zimbabwe, and was detained at the airport — and then jailed, facing deportation — upon his return because he didn’t look like his passport photo.

He had apparently gained about 125 pounds since the photo was taken.

His passport had fingerprints which would have matched his own, but those fingerprints weren’t separately on file anywhere that would have allowed a positive match. He had his previous passport as well, but that photo didn’t match either, so wasn’t a help.

As a result he was held at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport pending deportation proceedings.

With some media and political intervention, the case was dropped and he was released.

After being ferried to and from the centre in a prison van while being detained, Maplanka was allowed to walk out of the gates – asking the officers where the nearest bus stop was.

He made his way to London Victoria and caught the train back home to Eastbourne to be with his wife and children again after nine days.

Maplanka said: “I was absolutely elated when I got home. Seeing my kids again, I woke up my daughter and gave her a kiss.

(HT: Road Warrior Voices)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am an American from an European mix background. However I was born in Iran, as my father had an amazing Banking position during the Shah’s era. We had an amazing life in Iran. I grew up with an Persian nanny, a Philippino housekeeper as both my parents were working professionals. Iran in so many ways was better than USA and Europe. Amazing food and places by the Caspian sea, very educated kind friendly people who love foreigners, specially they love the Americans despite what you hear in the media.
    I am not Moslem and as matter of fact from a Jewish/Catholic background. My partner is a non practicing Moslem from Morocco with a Greencard. My passport says that I was born in Iran however my name is European.
    We were traveling from Amsterdam back to USA on American Airlines. We were detained and harassed by the security people, an Indian guy, a Dutch person and a few other American Airlines staff. We nearly missed our flight. The questions were completely out of line and crazy.
    They even treated us worse when they found out that we are a married gay couple. I have written to American Airlines and never got even an apology.
    On top of our horrible start, the flight was diverted to Main for refueling and we got to our destination two days later with no compensation from American Airlines!
    The discrimination and harassment we have gotten is so ridiculous.We had a similar terrible experience also at Madrid airport with Iberia staff who called the Immigration people on us. They took my Moroccan partner for questioning and at Madrid airport wanted us to split apart and I told them that there was no way that I would leave him alone as he is my husband. They finally let us go, however we missed our flight at Madrid airport and we had to buy two one way last minute tickets. We had First Class on Etihad,BA and Iberia Business Class tickets. I have written to Iberia multiple times as well and nothing!

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