Security fail: Nigerian man boarded flight from JFK by flashing invalid boarding pass
A Nigerian national boarded a cross-country flight at Kennedy Airport last week by flashing a day-old boarding pass at a federal security checkpoint.
Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi - arrested Wednesday for pulling the same stunt in California - took a seat on the Virgin America flight to Los Angeles without a problem.
It wasn't until the plane was airborne that a flight attendant noticed he was in the wrong seat, the FBI said.
Once the attendant became aware of the discrepancy last Friday, Noibi produced the incorrect boarding pass - with another man's name - and a University of Michigan ID with his picture.
The pass belonged to a traveler who said the document disappeared as he was traveling to the airport on June 23, the FBI said.
"This shouldn't be happening 10 years after 9/11," said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who wants a full investigation into what went wrong.
"The best case scenario is this is a serious mistake than can never be replicated again," King said. "Worst case, this is much more prevalent than we think - or he was testing the system."
Noibi, 24, was charged as a stowaway, and authorities said he wasn't suspected of anything more nefarious than beating the airline out of his airfare.
Virgin American said Noibi was headed west on Flight 415 when the phony pass was noted, although it didn't seem to bother him - the passenger spent most of the flight sleeping.
"The crew kept the subject under surveillance, but at no time felt there was any threat to the security of the flight," the airline said in its statement.
The plane's captain notified authorities in Los Angeles, and he was detained by local law enforcement upon arrival, the statement said.
But Noibi exited LAX without getting arrested last Friday.
On Wednesday, he was collared while trying to board a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and authorities discovered more than 10 other expired boarding passes inside his luggage, the FBI said.
The Transportation Security Administration, responsible for the increased post-9/11 airport security, declined to discuss specifics of the case.
"Every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening at the checkpoint," said TSA spokesman Greg Soule.
"TSA's review of this matter indicates that the passenger went through screening."