Delta Flight Delayed 3 Hours After Passenger Boards Without A Ticket

On Saturday October 5th, a woman was able to board a Delta flight without a boarding pass or identification. Once officials were alerted to this, law enforcement and airline staff intervened to get the woman off the plane. The entire incident caused a total delay of three hours to the flight.

Witnesses report that it took 45 minutes just to get the woman off the plane. Photo Delta Airlines

According to Newsweek, the incident involved Delta flight DL1516 scheduled to go from Orlando, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. One witness reports that the aircraft had already started taxiing towards the runway but came to a stop on the tarmac.

The same witness says that once the plane stopped, all passengers were made to disembark where security agents and K-9 police units were waiting to intervene. WFTV reports that “the plane was searched by dogs and TSA agents. Every single passenger had a pat-down, and all of our bags were searched again.”

Another witness said the following to WSBT TV Atlanta:

“She just kept saying, ‘I don’t drive. My I.D. is home in Atlanta,’ and ‘I don’t have an I.D. to show you,’…It was really scary, now that I look back on it. I want to know what her intentions were, because it just shouldn’t have happened.”

Newsweek also reports that the woman claims to have thrown her ticket away.

Delta Flight Delayed 3 Hours After Passenger Boards Without A Ticket
The Delta flight was going from Orlando to Atlanta. Photo: Delta Airlines.

Official statement from Delta Air Lines:

In an official statement, Delta said the following:

“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 precautionary rescreen[s] of everyone on-board. 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.”

Delta 757
DL1516 is usually operated by Boeing 757s but occaisionally Airbus A321s. Photo: Delta

Other stowaway incidents

In July a boy was discovered to be traveling alone without a boarding pass or ticket. As a result, the British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles was delayed for almost five hours.

Apparently the boy was mingling with other passengers at the boarding gate before making his way to the plane. After being caught without a ticket by a flight attendant, he refused to cooperate. The British Airways team on board the A380 were left with no alternative but to call the police in order to remove the child from the flight.

In one of the more bizarre incidents, a man came running out of the bushes in Lagos, Nigeria towards a departing flight. Carrying a suitcase, the man was able to climb on to the wing of a taxiing Boeing 737. After being arrested, the man claimed that he wanted to go to Ghana, but did not say how he managed to gain access to the runway.

Stories like these remind us that there are still holes and flaws in airport security systems that need to be addressed. Thankfully these incidences are few and far between.