Did the government shutdown actually result in a TSA shutdown? That is the excuse partially being used to explain how a 9-year-old boy was able to board Delta Flight 1651 alone and without a ticket. The incident happened on Thursday, October 3 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and was resolved by the time the unaccompanied minor reached McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
Before getting caught, the boy passed through multiple check-point and was able to board the plane without a ticket or ID. He didn’t just board the flight, he also appeared to have a bit of a “Catch Me If You Can” spree. Before flying on Thursday, he also took off with a stranger’s bag from the baggage carousel. He then dined alone at a restaurant outside security and fled to the bathroom without paying the bill. The bag and all its contents were later returned to the owner.
The joy ride ended mid-flight when the Delta crew noticed the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. He was met by Las Vegas police upon landing and was returned home to MSP a few days later. Social services is currently investigating the family and the situation.
In a statement to the local news station CBS WCCO, a spokesperson for the TSA noted that the organizations staffing was low due to the government shutdown. The spokesperson later clarified that no front-line screening agents have been furloughed in the shutdown. (Click here to see how travel has actually been affected).
When we went to the TSA website looking for additional information, the site was down due to the furlough. Despite the partial shutdown, the TSA will investigate this incident. Delta has also launched an independent investigation.
For more information on the government shutdown and travel, check out:
- How the government shutdown may impact traveler safety
- How the government shutdown is affecting travel industry
- Foreign Governments Warn against US Travel Due to Government Shutdown
- Government Shutdown Impacted Travel in Just One Week
By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com