9-year-old boy sneaks on plane to Vegas without a ticket

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(CNN) — A flight to America’s adult playground, Las Vegas, had an unusual passenger last week: a 9-year-old boy traveling on his own, apparently without a ticket.

The boy went through security with all other passengers, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, but officials are still trying to figure out how he did it — and how he then got on the flight.

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said the crew of Delta Flight 1651 “became suspicious of the child’s circumstances” during the flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas. Crew members got in touch with authorities in Las Vegas and turned the boy over to Child Protective Services, Hogan said in a statement.

“Fortunately, the flight crew took appropriate actions to ensure the child’s safety, so the story does have a good ending,” he said.

Delta said it takes the incident “very seriously” and is working with authorities.

The airline spells out its policy about children flying solo plainly on its website.

Children between the ages of 5 and 14 may travel alone as part of the unaccompanied minor program. Someone from Delta pays special attention to the children, walks them on board, shows them their seats and even introduces them to the cockpit crew, time permitting, Delta says, adding, “Kids love this part.”

Airport officials reviewed security footage and don’t think the child had a ticket, CNN affiliate KARE reported.

The boy, a runaway from the Twin Cities, spent a good amount of time at the airport before boarding the plane, KARE said.

He was there the day before, the station reported, citing airport officials. He passed his time by taking luggage from a carousel, bringing it to an airport eatery and then ditching it, asking a server to watch the bag “while he went to the restroom.”

The following day the child took the train to the airport, cleared security and made it to Las Vegas nearly without detection.

“Obviously, the fact that the child’s actions weren’t detected until he was in flight is concerning,” Hogan wrote. Still, 33 million people travel through Minneapolis’ airport every year, he noted. “I don’t know of another instance in my 13 years at the airport in which anything similar has happened,” he said.

A flight security expert said it’s very concerning that the child made it through several security checks.

“All of this (security) since 9/11 has been to keep us safe. And it has, but still we have gaping holes, and this is a perfect example of it,” Terry Trippler of ThePlaneRules.com told KARE.

The incident may be a first for Minneapolis, but over the years other airports have had similar incidents.

In 2007, another 9-year-old managed to fly from Seattle to Phoenix to San Antonio before being found out. He had a boarding pass, though. His mother told CNN her son gave ticketing agents a fake name.

Last year an 11-year-old boy in Manchester, England, managed to slip away from his mother during a shopping trip. He made it all the way to Rome without a boarding pass or a passport. But any Colosseum dreams were dashed. He never left the airport in Rome and was returned to his parents the same day.

By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News