A 9-year-old boy was discovered on a Delta flight from Minneapolis, Minn. to Las Vegas Thursday, when flight crew members became suspicious of his circumstances. Security footage points to the 9-year-old as having no ticket for the flight. Delta and the The Transportation Security Administration are currently investigating the incident, according to CNN on Sunday, Oct. 6.
Ryan Linderman, a traveler passing through Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Saturday said, "It's crazy, I have an 8-year-old and that freaks me out", when he heard of the incident.
Authorities believe the 9-year-old boy to be a runaway from the Twin Cities, according to KARE11 News. Officials say the boy was turned over to child protective services, and is currently being transported back to Minnesota.
Meanwhile, airport officials are trying to figure out just how the child passed through several security checkpoints without a boarding pass. He wasn't discovered until the plane touched down in Vegas.
The 9-year-old ended up on flight 1651, a Boeing 757 en route from Minneapolis to Las Vegas. The airline lists its policy for children flying solo clearly on its website.
Kids aged 5 to 14 may travel alone as part of the company's unaccompanied minor program. Someone from Delta monitors the children, escorting them on board and bringing them to their seats.
Time permitting, the crew member will first introduce them to the cockpit crew, Delta claims, adding that, "kids love this part".
But apparently none of that happened here. Further investigation revealed the 9-year-old had been hanging around the airport at least the day before.
The boy was supposedly removing luggage from a carousel and abandoning it in one of the airport restaurants, after first asking servers to watch it while he went to the restroom.
Yet airport officials note somehow the potential red flags of a 9-year-old, traveling solo and leaving unattended luggage, failed to trigger any action on the part of security.
Airport spokesperson Pat Hogan said, "This is a rare incident", adding that it's a matter for Delta and the TSA now.