9-Year-Old Sneaks Onto Flight; TSA Blames The Government Shutdown, Then Says It Did Its Job Just Fine
from the because-you-gotta-blame-someone dept
You may have seen this story making the rounds about a 9-year-old boy somehow getting through multiple layers of security at an airport in Minnesota to get aboard a flight to Las Vegas. It appears that there were multiple lapses here. The kid got through the TSA security checkpoint without a ticket. He got onto the plane without a ticket. The plane then took off without anyone noticing that (1) the plane had too many passengers and (2) he wasn’t on their list of unaccompanied minors (something they noticed mid-flight). The TSA’s response was initially to blame the the government shutdown:
WCCO contacted the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) Sunday morning, during which a spokesperson said staffing is currently low due to the number of employees furloughed in the wake of the federal government shutdown.
A few hours later, the TSA responded again, trying a different strategy. Apparently someone realized that nearly all TSA agents at security checks are still on the job, even if their pay is deferred. So, with a second shot at this, rather than blame the government shutdown, the TSA’s strategy is to claim it did everything it was supposed to:
“The child was screened along with all other passengers to ensure that he was not a threat to the aircraft,” said the TSA spokesperson.
Someone else in the article also notes that the TSA’s job is to make sure that the people passing through security are “not a threat,” and not whether or not they’re supposed to board the plane. That’s an interesting argument, but doesn’t make much sense. I fly fairly frequently, and these days every single time I fly there are two TSA agents who review the boarding pass before you make it through security (one as you enter security who mainly makes sure you have a boarding pass for a flight through that security checkpoint, and the second who checks your IDs and is supposed to verify that the boarding pass is legit).
Of course, these kinds of lapses aren’t unheard of. In the past it used to be much easier. Comedian/actor Molly Shannon has told her story a few times about how when she was a little girl she was able to sneak onto a plane to NY (after her father suggested she try it). But that was back when airport/airline security was a lot lower. Either way, it’s pretty ridiculous for the TSA to blame the government shutdown for such a lapse. People have long argued that the TSA is more “security theater” than anything else — giving you the appearance of security, rather than any actual protections — and this seems to support that theory.