October 7th, 2013
10:16 AM ET

Boy Sneaks Onto Plane Without Ticket

A flight to America's adult playground, Las Vegas, had an unusual passenger last week: a 9-year-old boy traveling on his own, apparently without a ticket.

The boy went through security with all the other passengers, the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, but officials are still trying to figure out how he did it - and how he then got on the flight.

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said the crew of Delta Flight 1651 "became suspicious of the child's circumstances" during the flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas. Crew members got in touch with authorities in Las Vegas and turned the boy over to Child Protective Services, Hogan said in a statement.

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The airlines released a statement saying, "Delta is taking this incident very seriously and working with authorities in the investigation. Due to the fact that it involves a minor we are not commenting further at this time."

CNN’s George Howell says, “For the traveling public, who know the rigorous routine of airport screening it's a mystery how a child could have slipped through the cracks.” (WATCH TOP VIDEO)

CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend breaks down the usual routine: One individual checks boarding passes before you go through the security screening.  A nine-year-old doesn't need an I.D. but does need a ticket. You have to have a parent or he's got to be registered as an unaccompanied minor. (WATCH VIDEO)

“It wasn't picked up at that point. He goes through screening. The ticket agent at the gate—you're supposed to match an individual to a boarding pass, that didn't happen. By the way, when you get on the plane the flight crew does a head count and they check with the gate agent to make sure, you have so many boarding passes we've got so many bodies. That clearly didn’t happen,” Townsend says.

“So there were multiple points of failure here and ought to be concerning.”

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