Evading the TSA? No problem. Delta? Please. The only thing that stopped a woman from successfully stowing away on a flight was taking the wrong seat onboard…
Sylvia Rictor almost made it. Somehow, she allegedly passed through a TSA checkpoint with no ticket and no ID, then boarded a Delta flight from Orlando to Atlanta without a boarding pass.
Let’s stop right there.
How did a woman get through a TSA without a boarding pass and ID?
We know TSA typically allows passengers to clear checkpoints if they forget their ID:
Forgot Your ID?
In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.
You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.
But no boarding pass and ID? I’ve never heard of that. A TSA spokesperson told USA Today:
The TSA can confirm that the individual went through screening at the TSA checkpoint. We are working with law enforcement to investigate the incident at the plane and will not be providing any additional information at this time.
Fair enough, but it just doesn’t add up. Even the TSA would not just let someone through without a boarding pass and ID, would they?
And then she somehow boarded the Delta flight. Again, I wasn’t there, but I fly almost every week and note how hard it is to slip past a gate agent and onto a jetbridge. In fact, I just can’t see it happening.
I suspect Rictor had a boarding pass that wasn’t hers. How else would she get past two checkpoints undetected? Think of it. Surveillance cameras are likely not high-definition enough to zero in on the text on her boarding pass and there is not an ID check at the gate.
But her grand plan, whatever it was, was foiled after she took a seat onboard and another passenger soon showed up to claim it. Let’s cue Delta for what happened next:
Delta apologizes to customers of Flight 1516 for the delay after a person not ticketed for that flight was removed from the aircraft. Security officials then directed a precautionary rescreen of everyone onboard. Delta is working with local law enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration on their investigation and we are conducting our own review of this as well. Safety and security is always our top priority.
When confronted, Rictor was unable to produce her ID and said she had thrown away her boarding pass. She was escorted off the airport premises, not arrested, though the FBI is looking into the matter.
Sylvia Rictor, meet Marilyn Hartman. Maybe my theory is wrong and she just walked right onto the aircraft like she owned it. In any case, I’d love to chat with Rictor to hear her side of the story.