No Ticket, No ID, No Problem For This Delta Passenger

Back in October Delta flight DL1516 from Orlando to Atlanta was delayed nearly three hours on Saturday when a woman with no ID or boarding pass went through TSA and boarded the flight. The plane pushed back with her on it. The TSA has now released a report on how she outsmarted them – and Delta.

The extra passenger on board the Boeing 757 was identified when she was found sitting in another passenger’s seat and refused to move.

A flight attendant sought help from the cockpit. Crew asked for a boarding pass, but the woman said “she threw it away after she got on the plane.” They asked for her ID and she “showed them a photo of herself on her phone.”

The ID-less unticketed passenger was removed from the aircraft by police. The plane pushed back and then “stopped on the tarmac for around an hour before returning” to the gate. The flight was waiting while bueraucrats decided how to handle their mistake. The TSA required everyone to come back and get re-screened.

Here are the confused TSA agents trying to figure out how they were outsmarted.

And video of the deplaned passengers waiting to be rescreened.

According now, to TSA:

  • She tried to go through security with a JetBlue baggage receipt as her ID. She was turned away.

  • So she returned to the checkpoint and joined a group of two families showing their IDs and boarding passes together. The TSA screener didn’t notice the number of people passing was greater than the number of travel documents.

  • She “lined up with wheelchair passengers during the pre-boarding process and went around them as the gate agent was scanning their boarding passes and onto the jet bridge”

    “I approached the woman that went around and asked if she had been scanned and she stated yes she had,” the gate agent told investigators. “… “I assumed she was with the wheelchair passenger and then allowed her to board.”

If the plane hadn’t been full, or she’d have apologized and moved to an empty seat – if she’d been quicker on her feet confronted by the passenger assigned the seat she was sitting in – she’d have been able to fly successfully without a ticket.

The FBI didn’t press charges due to the “availability of civil and administrative remedies.” She has, however, received a TSA ‘warning notice’ “which goes on the woman’s record.”

No TSA employees were disciplined for letting her go through the checkpoint without a boarding pass or ID, either.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. TSA are like the lowest of the gene pools. Seattle is particularly bad. Racist blacks ( most of em) or dumpy fat looser white freaks with attitudes. Just repugnant. They can barely speak real English either.

  2. TSA are like the lowest of the gene pools. Seattle is particularly bad. Racist blacks ( most of em) or dumpy fat looser white freaks. All with attitudes. Just repugnant. They can barely speak real English either.

  3. Why on earth would they have had to only screen the passengers on this plane again? Security at MCO is by terminal, so if there was a problem, they should have screened every passenger who passed through that terminal, not just one plane. And if the issue was with the failure to check boarding passes, they could have just checked boarding passes, not screened everyone on this one plane again.

  4. Apparently, she got through both two steps in the process – she had to get past the TSA podium check and the Delta gate door scanner. With MCO as my home airport, I hope to learn more about how this security lapse occurred.

  5. @Nigel; “” They can barely speak real English either.”

    Well then, you should get along with them swimmingly as you’re unable to spell real English.

  6. So Gary, “Here are the confused TSA agents trying to figure out how they were outsmarted”, but the Delta agents that let her on the plane with no boarding pass were not outsmarted? How hard would it be to find the boarding pass that she “threw away” after she got on the plane? I call BS on the story and would like to know what really happened.

  7. Actually, bypassing the document check at MCO would not be very hard, the “secure area” after document check consists of a very long section of roped off area along one side patrolled by one or, at most, two TSA officers. It would be very easy to slip into the line, unless someone in the line said something. Your boarding pass is not checked again until the gate and your ID is never checked again. Pretty much the most insecure, secure area I have seen in any airport. If I want to fly down to Orlando from Canada, my boarding pass and ID are checked before the area that the hand luggage is scanned (which is behind a wall), boarding pass is checked by the people who scan your hand luggage, boarding pass and ID are checked by US CBP (which is behind another wall) and boarding pass and ID are checked by the gate agent. And let’s face it, who are you more afraid of, Florida Man or Renfrew of the Mounties?

  8. “They asked for her ID and she ‘showed them a photo of herself on her phone.’”

    Guys that’s the best thing I’ve read all day, gotta hand it to this lady *slow clap* 🙂

  9. “Apparently, she got through both two steps in the process – she had to get past the TSA podium check and the Delta gate door scanner.”

    And it’s 18 years after 9/11, congratulations America do you feel safer?

  10. Wondering if it was a full flight. Because if it was they pushed back with a standee which is a no-no?

  11. So TSA and GA messed up the shiit so they want to re-screen everybody again just so everyone can be 3 more hours late?

  12. She should have flown Southwest. No assigned seat, so no one would have asked her to remove herself from a ticketed seat.

  13. I think that’s was happened.
    She used somone else’s ID and boarding pass to get on the plane. If it was Southwest, it wouls have been OK because you can take any seat.
    The ID was probably someone that looked like her.

  14. I would love to hear Marilyn Hartman give a talk on her adventures. I would pay for it as a matter of fact! I hope she can continue with her adventures. I don’t know why the authorities don’t hire people that really can truly hack the system. Someone like Marilyn Hartman would be perfect for TSA whatever the department is that investigates internal vulnerabilities in the system. If you don’t hire someone who can breach the system regularly your doing it wrong. Hire bank robbers to prevent bank robbery, not someone who never robbed a bank. Also it would be good if one of the organized groups paid Marilyn Hartman to come in and give a talk i.e. Chicago Seminars or FTU. It would surely beat a talk on credit cards, or someone who took a lot of pics internationally. I wonder if this person will ever be able to get TSAPre, I know the TSA can issue different levels of warnings, so maybe this is some sort of temp slap on the wrist.

  15. @farnorthtrader — excellent point.

    The government generally equates inconvenience with security and vice versa. Therefore a major security breach is best redressed with a major inconvenience.

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