A nine-year-old boy snuck his way past airport security, TSA agents and Delta Airlines personnel, and was able to get on a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas without a boarding pass.

On Thursday, the young boy reportedly got through the security checkpoints and tricked Delta Air Lines flight attendants into allowing him on the flight by saying that his parents were already onboard. The crew became suspicious sometime midflight, and the boy was questioned upon arrival in Las Vegas. According to reports, the boy, a supposed runaway, is currently in protective custody and local authorities are working out a plan for his safe return to Minneapolis.

Air travel expert, Terry Trippler, expressed major concerns upon hearing the incident – an obvious lack of security efficiency.

“He had to pass three levels of security. You have the TSA, the gate agents, and the flight crew and a child comes through without even a seat assignment,” Trippler said.

The boy reportedly spent time at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport the day before the incident, where he observed the airport security check points, allegedly preparing for his big escape the following day.

“Obviously, the fact that the child’s actions weren’t detected until he was in flight is concerning,” Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said.

The boy reportedly camouflaged himself to get through security checkpoints, pretending to be part of a family passing through at the same time. To board the plane, the boy waited until the gate attendant was distracted and then hoped on the plane. He was only discovered when the flight crew realized he was not on the manifest as a child traveling alone and he did not have an adult with him.

The security lapses are currently under investigation, though it appears the focus of the investigation will remain on the TSA and the Delta airlines personnel. The TSA is in the process of re-evaluating its security protocols, however, they have released a statement saying that they are confident the boy was, at the very least, determined not to be a threat to the security of the flight.

“The child was screened along with all other passengers to ensure that he was not a threat to the aircraft,” the TSA told the Los Angeles Times.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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