TSA Tries to Cover Incompetence by Blaming Shutdown for Stowaway

At least this excuse by the TSA for allowing a 9 year old stowaway to fly to Vegas from Minneapolis has the virtue of never having been tried before.

The Gropers claim that because of furloughs due to the government shutdown, they were unable to keep track of the unnamed youngster, who evidently ran away from home on Thursday.

CBS Minnesota:

A 9-year-old Minneapolis boy was able to get through security and onto a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without a ticket, an airport spokesman said Sunday.

Security officials screened the boy at airport shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said. The boy then boarded Delta Flight 1651, which left for Las Vegas at 11:15 a.m.

The flight was not full, Hogan said, and the flight crew became suspicious midflight because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. The crew contacted Las Vegas police, who met them upon landing and transferred the boy to child protection services, Hogan said.

“I’ve worked at the airport for 13 years, and we have more than 33 million people go through the terminal every year, and I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before,” Hogan said.

Minneapolis Police went to his residence. Parents told officers they “hadn’t seen much of him today.” A family member told police the boy ran away and was last seen earlier Thursday.

A spokesperson with the Transportation Security Agency pointed out that staffing is currently low due to the number of employees furloughed in the wake of the federal government shutdown.

“We’re investigating … and looking into our part to see what occurred and what didn’t occur,” said the TSA spokesperson.

Video also shows the boy at the airport Wednesday, Hogan said. He grabbed a bag from the carousel and ordered lunch at a restaurant outside of the security checkpoints, Hogan said. He ate and then told the server he had to use the bathroom, left the bag and never returned to pay.

The owner of the bag was identified, and the bag was returned to him, Hogan said. Nothing was stolen.

Let us count the ways that TSA -- and the airline -- dropped the ball.

1. No one should be able to get through security without their own ticket. Even if the kid latched on to an adult going through the security line pretending to be a family member, his ticket should have been verified.

2. Was the entire airport security team asleep? How does a 9 year old wander around a terminal by himself? One presumes that security is on the lookout for situations like this. Guess not.

3. No one should be able to board a plane without a ticket. What was the flight attendant doing that she missed a ticketless passenger without a boarding pass?

4. The plane took off without verifying all underage passengers traveling without an adult were accounted for? And they're responsible for these kids? Yikes.

If the TSA employees had done their jobs, the kid would have been stopped -- end of story. Trying to blame their incompetence on a government shutdown is lamer than lame.