11-year-old gets past airport security and tries to board flight without ticket, almost succeeds

An unaccompanied child made it through a security checkpoint and was even screened before airport workers realized he was alone
An unaccompanied child made it through a security checkpoint and was even screened before airport workers realized he was alone. (Photo: Getty Images)

A child from Atlanta who made good on his threat to run away from home was almost successful in boarding a Delta flight on Friday with no ticket, no boarding pass and no supervision. Now people are left scratching their heads as to how the boy was able to accomplish the stunt.

The boy “just wanted to get away,” according to local news station WSB-TV, so he hopped on a bus to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where he confidently marched up to a security checkpoint and was able to make it through without showing a boarding pass. He was even screened, the Travel Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed.

The luggage-free kid then attempted to blend in with a family, WSB-TV reported, hoping to make his way onto the plane. That’s when an airport worker spotted the boy in his pajamas and asked him where his parents were, since the family he was tailing denied knowing him. The boy ran off, with airport security workers in hot pursuit.

Sari Koshetz, a TSA representative, told WSB-TV that the TSA was not in the wrong allowing the child through the security checkpoint; because he’s a minor, he didn’t have to show identification. Koshetz had no comment, though, when asked about the boy’s nonexistent boarding pass.

Even the child’s mother is unable to justify how the boy snuck out of the house and made it so far in his journey without an adult present. When confronted at her home by a reporter, the woman — who has not been identified — refused to be held accountable, saying, “OK, well you should be at the airport asking them how that happened.”

A fellow traveler interviewed at Hartsfield-Jackson said that although the airport is more chaotic than usual around the holiday season, her own son — also a minor — always has to show his boarding pass. “He’s with me,” she said with a shrug. Another dumbfounded commuter asked, “How can you let an 11-year-old through the screening by himself?”

The preteen is now back home with his mother, and the child protective services agency has been notified, according to WSB-TV.

Delta does have an Unaccompanied Minor Program, according to its website. Rules vary according the age group, but children between the ages of 8 and 14 are allowed to travel on some nonstop and connecting flights, and the fee for the service is $150. However, an adult is required to escort the child through the security checkpoint, according to Delta.

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