The 9-year-old boy who stowed away on a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas on Thursday passed through three security checkpoints at the airport without a boarding pass or identification, officials and an airline expert said Sunday.
The boy got through the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) checkpoint, past a Delta gate agent and didn’t get scrutinized by flight attendants before the plane took off, said Terry Trippler, owner of ThePlaneRules.com.
The boy blended in with a family traveling with children, and if an adult handed the TSA agent six boarding passes, it would be fairly easy to miss it if there were seven people, Trippler said.
The boy, who has not been identified, actually went to the airport both Wednesday and Thursday via light-rail, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Pat Hogan said Sunday.
On Wednesday, he took a bag off the baggage carousel, went through TSA security and had lunch at a restaurant in the area that leads to the concourses. The boy told waitstaff at the restaurant that he had to use the restroom. Since there isn’t a restroom in the restaurant, the boy had to enter one of the concourses. He left the bag and his lunch bill behind and never returned, Hogan said.
The bag belonged to an arriving passenger. When the passenger arrived, airport personnel were waiting for him and returned the bag to him. The passenger went through the bag and reported that nothing was missing.
On Thursday, the boy was seen on surveillance video talking to a Delta agent at the flight gate, Hogan said. When that agent was busy, the boy walked down the jetway and onto the plane.
The flight was not full and there were empty seats, Hogan said. The flight crew became suspicious midflight because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors and didn’t appear to be traveling with an adult.
Las Vegas police were notified and took the boy into protective custody when the flight landed. His parents were notified immediately but it’s not clear whether someone flew to Las Vegas to retrieve him or whether he was put on a flight back to Minneapolis.
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