A 12-year-old boy managed to evade several layers of tight airport security last week and sneaked onboard a Kuwait-bound plane before eventually being caught when the cabin crew realised there was one less seat available for all the passengers onboard.
The incident happened in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in the early hours of September 12 as Kuwait Airways flight KU284 was preparing for departure, Aero Telegraph and the Daily Star reports.
According to local media, the boy had runaway from a residential madrasa school and came to the country’s main hub airport where he successfully got past at least five layers of security without being detected.
After sneaking onboard the Boeing 777 aircraft, the boy reportedly found an empty seat and occupied it without any of the other passengers or cabin crew being any the wiser that he shouldn’t have been there.
What the boy didn’t know, however, was that the flight was completely sold out, and the passenger who should have been in the boy’s seat eventually showed up.
At this point, it was discovered that the boy didn’t have a ticket or even a passport and that he wasn’t being accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The incident has embarrassed Bangladeshi authorities, and a number of security and immigration staff on duty at the time have been suspended while an investigation takes place.
A preliminary investigation suggests that the boy managed to walk between an elderly couple as if they were his family in order to get through the immigration control point without being challenged.
Serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman from Chicago once explained how she managed to get onboard planes without anyone noticing, explaining how she would ‘attach herself’ to innocent passengers.
Hartman would find passengers with similar characteristics and luggage and then stay close to them so that the TSA and airport workers thought they were the same person.
More often than not, stowaways who manage to sneak onto a plane with other passengers are caught before departure but every now and then, the flight can take off with them still onboard.
Hartman is believed to have crisscrossed the United States as a stowaway and even managed to get on flights to Copenhagen and Paris.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.