Passenger Takes Loaded Gun Onto Tokyo Bound Delta Flight

Today we have alarming news out of Japan as a serious breach of airport security became apparent. On 2nd of January, Delta flight 295 departed from Atlanta for Tokyo. During the flight, a passenger realised she had inadvertently boarded the aircraft with a gun and ammunition. Thankfully the passenger had no ill intentions and immediately informed the cabin crew. Following this, the crew then held on to the gun until the aeroplane arrived in Tokyo. Upon arrival in Tokyo, the Japanese gave the lady a stern warning, before officially contacting the US.

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The incident occurred during a Delta flight to Tokyo.

So What Happened?

Delta flight 295 departed from Atlanta for Tokyo on 2nd of January. While everything was going to plan throughout the flight, it soon became anything other than an ordinary flight. Despite every passenger undergoing screening with the TSA before boarding, it appeared that something slipped through. In fact, one of the passengers discovered that they had accidentally boarded the aircraft with their gun and three rounds of ammunition.

As soon as the passenger discovered the item she immediately made the crew aware of her mistake. The crew then took possession of the firearm and ammunition for the remainder of the flight. It would appear that no air marshals were on the flight as the issue was dealt with by cabin crew. Upon arrival, the passenger was met by Japanese officials who had been alerted to her mistake. The lady, who was in her 30s, was denied admission to Japan and returned to the US later that day. She was reportedly carrying the firearm for self-protection but forgot it was in her bag.

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Despite the onboard incident, the aircraft arrived ahead of schedule. Source: FlightAware

Following the incident, the Japanese Transport Ministry contacted the Department for Homeland Security. The requested that measures be implemented to avoid such an incident being repeated.

Due To Government Shutdown?

Many have put two and two together and blamed the incident on the government shutdown. Specifically, a number of outlets have claimed that short staffing is a threat to aviation security. To verify this, we contacted the TSA. In response to our request, a TSA spokesperson told Simple Flying: “[the] TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did, in fact, pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on January 2. TSA will hold those responsible appropriately accountable.”

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The TSA website informs that firearms are not allowed in the cabin of an aircraft. Source: TSA

The went on to add: “There was not a staffing issue as some are speculating or alluding to in their articles. In fact, the national callout percentages were exactly the same for Wed, 1/2/19 and Wed, 1/3/18 (when there was no shutdown) — 5 %. The passenger, who was fully cooperative with authorities, flew from Atlanta to Narita, Japan and was met by Japanese authorities upon landing.”

A Delta spokesperson simply told Simple Flying that the matter had been referred to the TSA.

What do you make of this security breach? Was it simply a mistake like the TSA says, or a result of the government shut down? Let us know in the comments down below!