Monday, October 7th, 2013
A 9-year-old boy apparently evaded airport security and even gate check-in by slipping unnoticed onto a Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas last week. Crew members, who became suspicious during the flight, alerted authorities, and he was turned over to Child Protective Services in Nevada. More from CNN.com:
Delta said it takes the incident “very seriously” and is working with authorities.
The boy traveled Thursday on flight 1651, a Boeing 757 from Minneapolis to Las Vegas.
The airline spells out its policy on children flying solo plainly on its website.
Kids 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 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.”
Yet the potential red flags of a 9-year-old, traveling alone and leaving unattended luggage, failed to trigger any action.
The following day the child took the train to the airport, cleared security and nearly made it to Las Vegas without detection.
“Obviously, the fact that the child’s actions weren’t detected until he was in flight is concerning,” [Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport], 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.
Image: Airplane, via Shutterstock
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Friday, August 17th, 2012
A San Francisco mother is alleging that United Airlines failed to keep track of her 10-year-old daughter, who was flying to summer camp on her own and was supposed to be tracked by a child-care service offered by the airline. MSNBC.com reports:
Ten-year-old Phoebe was headed for a summer camp in Traverse City, Mich., when she boarded her flight from San Francisco in June. But she failed to make her connection in Chicago because the person hired to help her make the plane change — a United contractor — never showed up.
After getting the call from the camp counselor, Annie Klebahn called United, who insisted her daughter was already in Michigan. “So at that point is when I really knew that they had lost her at some level; they didn’t know where she was,” Klebahn told NBC News. “All the worst possible things go through your mind as a mom when you think you have no idea where your child is and she’s 2,000 miles away.”
Phoebe said a United employee eventually walked her to a waiting room for unaccompanied minors.
“I asked several times to call my mom because I knew she’d be worried because no one really knew where I was,” Phoebe said. “But they kept saying, ‘Hang out a minute, we’re busy.’”
Image: Empty airport waiting room, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress on Tuesday that new rules will not require children under age 12 to remove their shoes when they go through airport security, The Associated Press reports.
The Transportation Security Administration says the change will be instituted in the coming weeks, along with other policy changes including new ways to conduct security searches of children without resorting to pat-downs.
From the AP:
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Napolitano said there may be some exceptions to keep airport security unpredictable. Terrorists have plotted to use children as suicide bombers, and some children still may be required to remove their shoes to keep security random.
“There will always be some unpredictability built into the system, and there will always be random checks even for groups that we are looking at differently, such as children,” she said.