Man Spends 3 Months In O’Hare Because He Was Afraid To Fly

A man was charged with trespassing on Saturday after authorities discovered the 36-year-old man had been living at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for three months. In addition to the trespassing charge, Aditya Singh also faces charges of misdemeanor theft. Singh entered the airport on October 19th and was reportedly too afraid to fly home due to the coronavirus.

Sleeping traveler
In the cases of flight cancelations due to sudden travel restrictions or severe weather, passengers may be forced to spend several days at an airport waiting for an available flight. Photo: Getty Images

“It shows how things can slip through the cracks…You get an idea at the airport and can go weeks without being detected. It’s really remarkable that in this day and age and security, this occurred.” – Joseph Schwieterman, Chicago Chapter of the Transportation Research Forum via NBC5 Chicago

From October to January

According to NBC5 Chicago, Aditya Singh, age 36, entered Chicago O’Hare airport on October 19th, reportedly with an intention to fly home to California. However, Singh claims he was afraid to fly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and thus lived in the airport for nearly three months before finally being discovered.

Able to survive by getting food from other passengers, the discovery of Singh took place when two United Airlines employees approached him. When the airline workers asked for his identification, he presented an ID badge, which actually belonged to an airport operations manager. The badge had been reported missing in late October.

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O Hare terminal
Although the largest and busiest airports are non-stop sources of noise and activity, they may also host stranded travelers who might spend no more than a day or an overnight stay in the terminal whilst waiting for the next flight. Photo: Nicola via Wikimedia Commons 

The employees then called authorities, who took Singh into custody. Singh was then charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft.

According to The Guardian, Singh has a master’s degree in hospitality. However, he is unemployed and lives with roommates in Los Angeles.

Reaction from authorities

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), which oversees the city’s airports, issued the following statement to the media:

CDA has no higher priority than the safety and security of our airports, which is maintained by a coordinated and multilayered law enforcement network. While this incident remains under investigation, we have been able to determine that this gentleman did not pose a security risk to the airport or to the traveling public. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on a thorough investigation of this matter.” – Chicago Department of Aviation via The Guardian

Man Spends 3 Months In O’Hare Because He Was Afraid To Fly
Once the busiest airport in the United States, Chicago O’Hare has since lost that title and slipped down to third-busiest in the country. Photo: Getty Images

Overseeing the case, Cook County judge Susana Ortiz appeared to be in disbelief upon hearing the circumstances, saying, “You’re telling me that an unauthorized, non-employee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal […] and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.” Ortiz then said that the facts and circumstances were “quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” adding, “I do find those alleged actions do make him a danger to the community.”

Do you agree with the judge in that Singh was a “danger to the community?” Or do you side with the CDA, who said that he “did not pose a security risk to the airport or to the traveling public?” Let us know in the comments!