Calling it a “security mishap,” the boy was able to sneak past TSA screeners and gate agents Thursday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The boy managed to get onto the flight as a stowaway, with no boarding pass, no seat assignment, and was not questioned until he reached Nevada.
In a statement, Delta simply said: “We are investigating the incident and cooperating with the agencies involved.”
Pat Hogan, spokesperson for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP), confirmed the incident, and quickly ruled out any lapse in internal airport security, pinning the blame on the government’s TSA security force and Delta Airlines employees.
“At this point, this is a Delta and TSA issue,” Hogan said, adding, “This is a rare incident.”
Rare it may be, but a child managing to weave his way undetected onto a flight is a major lapse in our nation’s airport security.
“It's crazy,” said passenger Ryan Linderman while passing through MSP Saturday. “I have an 8-year-old and that freaks me out.”
Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 said the boy spent Wednesday night at the airport, stole someone's luggage off a carousel, ordered food at a pre-security restaurant, even asking the server to watch his luggage while he went to the bathroom, but never returned. At no point during the boy's stay at the airport was he questioned as to the whereabouts of his parents.
The boy was turned over to protective childcare services, and is in the process of being returned to his very relieved parents. It is unclear as to how the boy managed to get to the airport.
“While we are safer in the air, this proves there are still gaping holes,” said Terry Trippler, an air travel expert with ThePlaneRules.com.