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12yo boards plane sans ticket; delays flight for 4 hours

Security at Heathrow in the spotlight after the incident

A 12-year-old boy managed to board a Los Angeles-bound British Airways plane undetected at Heathrow Airport after slipping past security checks. 


The child, believed to be a Dutch national, was only picked up when cabin crew asked to see his boarding pass to direct him to his seat. 


Image AFP/Getty


According to passengers, police officers were called in to remove the boy from the plane after he refused to co-operate with flight attendants. 


When he was eventually taken away, the plane had to be cleared again, while passengers were required to disembark and undergo another security check, the UK Telegraph reported. 


Consequently, the flight was delayed by more than four hours. 


“The boy would not speak to the cabin crew and they were asking if anybody spoke Dutch,” said traveller Rachel Richardson, who described the scenes as chaotic. 


“He would not help them understand where his bags were so the whole aircraft had to be cleared which meant we were almost more than four hours delayed taking off. It was very frustrating.” 


A BA spokesman said it had apologised to customers, emphasising that “the safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and everyone who had boarded the aircraft had been subject to security checks”.  


Authorities are now trying to establish how the incident occurred, although one theory is that he was a transit passenger who had arrived with an onward ticket and then wanted to see how far he could travel unchallenged.

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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 16 July 2019

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