A nine-year-old boy from Minnesota successfully sneaks on a Delta Airlines plane as a stowaway stowaway from Minneapolis to Las Vegas on Thursday without any adult supervision, but news of the incident was delayed until Saturday.
The child successfully made it past the TSA, gate agents and flight attendants without being caught.
The boy also took the train to the airport on his own. To make matters worse, after reviewing security footage, airport officials believe the young stowaway didn’t even have a boarding pass on him.
Flight attendants got suspicious of the boy because he didn’t have a seat assignment. Police met them at the airport in Las Vegas. A TSA spokesperson partially blamed the breach on the government shutdown — claiming low staffing might have meant TSA officials were taking on more work than they were used to. More than 30 million people go through the Minneapolis airport every year.
“I don’t know of another instance in my 13 years at the airport in which anything similar has happened,” an airport spokesman tried to reassure people this was an isolated incident.
The boy’s parents are reportedly cooperating with investigators. Delta says it’s taking the security breach very seriously.
“The story has a good ending because at least the flight crew took the appropriate actions and the child was returned safely,” said Pat Hogan, a Minneapolis airport spokesman. “Obviously the concern is how the child was able to go through the security screening process and board an airplane in the first place.”
The boy was screened at one of the airport’s checkpoints shortly after 10:30 a.m. CDT on Thursday and got on the Delta flight to Las Vegas at 11:15 a.m. CDT.
The Transportation Security Administration would say only that the boy was screened along with other passengers “to ensure that he was not a threat to the aircraft.”
The child arrived on the light rail train that runs from the city’s downtown, took a bag from a luggage carousel, and brought it to a restaurant in the area before the security checkpoints.
“He ordered lunch and ate it and then he told the wait staff that he had to use the restroom,” Hogan said. “So he left the bag there, left the restaurant and never came back to pay.”
The bag was returned to its owner.