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to still be annoyed by being questioned on whether my DS was MINE when flying - because we have different surnames?

(162 Posts)
mojomama Mon 02-Nov-09 12:51:20

i really just need to 'park it' BUT - when recently flying with my 14month old, a jumped-up passport control bloke detained me and questioned "how do i know he's yours?", because my son has a different surname to me, and, after I'd being driven to the point of apoplexy, suggested, in future, i "travel with a letter from his father giving permission"!!!! What if his dad had passed away?! i was sooo cross, but he started to look like he wouldn't let me board so i calmed down enough to get past him - AIBU???

FreeTheGuidoOne Mon 02-Nov-09 12:53:21

YABU, yes.

belgo Mon 02-Nov-09 12:53:31

YABU. I've been questioned before, it didn't bother me at all. They are only doing their job.

crumpet Mon 02-Nov-09 12:55:39

yabu. Checking is part of his job. Clairvoyancy isn't.

EldonAve Mon 02-Nov-09 12:55:43


Miggsie Mon 02-Nov-09 12:56:22

It is better that everyone is questioned in this situation and the 99 genuine mothers are a bit pissed off, and the 1 child being abducted is spotted and returned to their parent.

Airlines have lists of missing/snatched children involved with custody disputes, possibly being taken out of the country and they DO have a duty to try and spot them.

thecookiemumster Mon 02-Nov-09 12:56:30

Really?? I've never experienced this in spite of having a different surname.

PoisonToadstool Mon 02-Nov-09 12:56:43

YABU except the bit about a letter of permission - doesn't that sound rather ludicrous?

Longtalljosie Mon 02-Nov-09 12:57:49

Rather than a "letter of permission" - which is a bit silly - how about his birth certificate?

BunnyLebowski Mon 02-Nov-09 12:58:25

YA SO NBU. He sounds like a jobsworth twat. I've met a fair few travelling alone with dd.

'Letter from his father' hmm. Knob.

BonzoDoodah Mon 02-Nov-09 12:58:40

Gosh I Don't think YABU! My children don't have the same surname as me either and it hadn't even occurred to me that this might be an issue at immigration. I mean ... you had his passport for goodness sake.

What if the child had the same name (e.g. Smith) but looked completely different from you? Are they saying you'd managed to "snatch" a child with their passport (that they obviously carry with them all the time) and then take them abroad?

And quite outrageous to suggest you have a letter of permission from the father! I'd be fuming at that bit alone.

Abubu Mon 02-Nov-09 12:58:44

I think they have to check because of potential trafficking. However I thought you had to bring your child's birth certificate if they don't have the same surname.

The letter thing sounds a bit ott to me.

scarletlilybug Mon 02-Nov-09 12:59:14


I can kind of understand you being irritated.... but think about it.
Would you prefer it if he hadn't even asked? How was he supposed to know you were your son's mother - you could have been abducting or trafficking a child, for all he knew.

Maybe you should take ds's birth certificate with you next time, just in case?

rasputin Mon 02-Nov-09 12:59:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mojomama Mon 02-Nov-09 13:00:42

interesting - i had flown three times that week - i was questioned when i was leaving non-UK country - and not questioned once when flying across/out of UK. Silly me- i assumed a biometric passport meant that all the info -ie: birth certificates etc i have already provided to the UK government - meant that a quick scan would reveal the link between my passport and his. i do not expect clairvoyancy. i only expect not to be patronised by a twerp in a uniform. any ideas about the "letter" then? i could easily have forged one, no?

kidcreoleandthecoconuts Mon 02-Nov-09 13:00:53

My surname is different to my DC's but I usually just take their birth certificates to prove they're mine. Though I've never been asked to produce it though.

Toffeepopple Mon 02-Nov-09 13:01:10


I have worked in border control and it is so important that children who need to be are stopped at the border. A letter of permission is common advice - I know people who always take one - or just take their birth certificate.

I didn't change my name, so I do have sympathy, but if you think about it unemotionally how do they know?

I gave both my children my surname as a middle name, partly to avoid such situations.

mojomama Mon 02-Nov-09 13:03:24

p.s.he has my surname as his middle name

Morloth Mon 02-Nov-09 13:06:44

I have never been asked but I do usually carry his birth certificate just in case.

I think it is fair enough that they ask, would be pissed off at "permission from his father" though.

mayorquimby Mon 02-Nov-09 13:06:52

it's a simple check. this is one of those things that annoy me because if there is a high profile case of abduction and it turns out a kid is brought through an international airport unchecked everyone would then be up in arms "why wasn't their more security checks in place/no one even questioned them/ffs the child had a different name on their passport"
but at the same time no one wants the slight inconvenience of being checked themselves.

3littlefrogs Mon 02-Nov-09 13:07:23

YAB totally unreasonable. It is normal practice to carry a letter of permission to travel with a child who is a relative but not your own. For example a nephew or niece. This is to safeguard children and protect them from being taken abroad without the parents' permission. You have chosen to give your child a different name to your own. That is perfectly fine, but you can't expect the passport control staff to be au fait with your personal choices.

The officer was doing his job.

If you were a woman fleeing domestic violence and your ex tried to take your children out of the country without your permission, you would probably be on here ranting about incompetant officials who don't do enough to protect children.

scarletlilybug Mon 02-Nov-09 13:08:06

Maybe if you hadn't been so "apoplectic" and accepted he was just doing his job, you might not have been "patronised by a twerp in a uniform"?

anniemac Mon 02-Nov-09 13:09:25

Message withdrawn

wannaBe Mon 02-Nov-09 13:09:38

I thought a letter of permission from absent parent was a legal requirement in some countries.

A friend was very nearly turned back from Canada because they had her dp's ds with them and no letter of permission from his mother for him to leave the UK. I don't remember exactly what happened but iirc it involved middle-of-the-night hone calls to the mother etc. But they very nearly were not allowed into the country.

sprogger Mon 02-Nov-09 13:12:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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