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Stowaway On Delta Air Flight to Austin Used Ingenious Technique to Sneak Past Gate Agents, Exposing a Vulnerability with Mobile Boarding Passes

Stowaway On Delta Air Flight to Austin Used Ingenious Technique to Sneak Past Gate Agents, Exposing a Vulnerability with Mobile Boarding Passes

a plane flying in the sky

A stowaway on a Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to Austin managed to sneak past gate agents and onto the plane by taking a photo of another passenger’s mobile boarding pass, prosecutors have alleged.

Wicliff Yves Fleurizard was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of being a stowaway on an aircraft after flight attendants eventually realized there wasn’t a spare seat onboard the Airbus A320 for him.

In a criminal complaint filed in a Utah district court, prosecutors allege that after Fleurizard sneaked undetected onboard Delta flight 1683 on Sunday morning, he was spotted by a flight attendant opening an emergency equipment door.

The flight attendant was unfazed by Fleurizard’s odd behavior and instead just thought he was looking for a lavatory. Fleurizard was assisted to a lavatory at the front of the plane where he hid for the remainder of the time passengers were boarding the plane.

Once everyone was onboard, Fleurizard exited the lavatory and started walking down the aisle towards the back of the plane. At this point, he may have realized there wasn’t a spare seat on the aircraft, so he made his way to another lavatory.

He then exited the lavatory and again looked for a spare seat before a flight attendant intervened in an attempt to help Fleurizard.

By this point, the aircraft was already taxiing to the runway and Fleurizard had nowhere to sit. He claimed he was booked in seat 21F, but the passenger who was already sitting there showed the flight attendant his boarding pass.

The flight attendants then used their company-issued cellphones to search Delta’s reservation system, and at this point, they realized Fleurizard was not only not meant to be on this flight, but he wasn’t meant to be on any Delta flight.

The aircraft was forced to return to the gate, where Fleurizard was taken into custody by the Salt Lake Police Department. As the investigation got underway, security surveillance footage of the gate area was obtained, which showed Fleurizard using his phone to take pictures of other passengers’ mobile phones when they had their mobile boarding passes displayed.

Using the photo of a boarding pass obtained from a young child who was traveling alone, Fleurizard was allegedly able to scan his way onto the aircraft without the gate agent being any the wiser.

When interviewed by the police, Fleurizard said he had been attempting to get home to Florida and had been attempting to travel on a Southwest buddy pass the previous day.

Unfortunately, both Southwest flights he attempted to get on were overbooked, and Fleurizard was told to try again on Sunday afternoon. Instead, he says he made a mistake by trying to get on the Delta flight instead.

When the young child scanned her mobile boarding pass, the system showed that the passenger had already boarded, but the gate agent cleared the alert and allowed the child to board.

If found guilty, Fleurizard faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

View Comments (4)
  • Article title is a bit misleading. It doesn’t expose a vulnerability in mobile boarding passes. The system worked as designed, it was the gate agent that cleared the error, overriding the protections that were already in place, and allowed the seat to board twice.

    Now, if the argument is that human intervention in disregarding automated warnings is an exposed vulnerability, then I agree, 100% of the industry is vulnerable.

  • I once boarded a Delta flight and found someone in my first class seat. Turns out they reprinted my boarding pass at the gate and gave it to him because he had the same initials as me.
    When I went to board they said I was already on board, I told them I obviously wasn’t because here I am and showed my id and boarding pass. The guy in my seat’s actual ticket was for a later flight.

  • So up to five years in prison for being a stowaway. This is why the US has more people in prison than any country in the world. That includes China, which has over four times the population of the US. If the stowaway attempted to defraud the airline and is guilty, then he should be found guilty and punished. However unless he committed another crime in the process, five years is excessive and not proportionate to the offense. One or two years max would be more appropriate. Prison can and often does ruin a life, so we need to be very careful about locking up people. Prison makes many ex-cons permanently unemployed and homeless. It also costs the government a lot of money to keep an offender in prison. The US is a right-wing country with no legal services for millions. Many persons employed by the government and psychiatry continually seek to imprison people. RB

    • So you didn’t think about so-called mental health people locking you up? Think again. Are you depressed following the loss of a husband or wife? Significant other? Maybe you lost your job. Feel like dying? Well maybe 30 days in a psychiatric lockup will help. You’ll be put on drugs and not allowed to leave. Back talk and dissent will not be tolerated. You can be restrained. The psychiatrist might want to keep you longer against your will. Enjoy your stay.

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