minneapolis airport-minneapolis runaway

(Photo via cntraveler)

Last Thursday, an unnamed 9-year old managed to do what all 9-year olds occasionally dream about: eat lots of ice cream. No, I mean sneak onto a plan and run away from home. The culprit snuck unto a Delta flight on Thursday evading three levels of security at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. He boarded a flight heading to Vegas, before someone finally realized he was not only unattended, but had no ID or plane ticket. How did this little genius manage to do it? Well the scheme appears to have entailed 3 carefully-planned steps demonstrating that for any successful endeavor you need both great intuition and solid planning:

Step 1) Go to the airport day before to “scout the scene”

The young vigilante first traveled to the airport via lightrail on Wednesday to scout out the security situation. He then removed a bag from the carousel, went through TSA security and had lunch at a restaurant in the area that leads to the concourses. He then asked to use the restroom, abandoning the bag and payment process. The scouting trip must have confirmed what the kid already suspected: airport security’s more scary-looking than it is actually threatening, much like the big alien robot creature in The Iron Giant. After a successful scoping of the scene, he is now ready for Game Day. What we train and practice and fantasize about.

Step 2) Mingle with other families

Video shows the young child, mingling with the crowd, specifically families, to avoid detection. The kid played on the common assumption that adults make: parents with a bunch of kids around them constitute a family. This particular technique would have gotten him past the first two levels of airport security.

Step 3) Take advantage of boarding call melee

Boarding a plane often comes with plenty of confusion and chaos. Did they just call my row? Oh wait no they’re still boarding pregnant women and army personnel. Maybe I should ask the airline representative at the desk to change my seat? And why are those folks boarding they weren’t even on line! We don’t really know how chaotic this particular boarding call was, but video shows him speaking with a Delta agent at the gate before rushing down the jetway and onto the plane with the agent busy with other customers.

Crew members became suspicious of him during the flight and contacted the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Officers then took the boy into custody when the plane landed. “The story has a good ending because at least the flight crew took the appropriate actions and the child was returned safely,” said Pat Hogan, a Minneapolis airport spokesman.

So close! Well we guess it’s the journey not the destination that counts.


Sherif Farrag is a former travel freak and current couch potato. He traveled much of the world as a competitive fencer, and enjoys relating his travel wisdom and pitfalls (don't travel to Copenhagen in winter without winter clothes. It's freezing cold then. I should have known this. Now you do).


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