Where Was The TSA?
A 29-year-old New
Jersey man is in custody today, and the airline he tried to sneak
aboard -- American Airlines -- is facing a stiff fine, after he
allegedly boarded an AA flight from Newark to Miami without a
ticket or boarding pass.
Danis Ballard of Irvington, NJ is charged with criminal
trespass. Transportation Security Agency officials reportedly
determined that his intent wasn't to breach security, but to fly
A TSA spokeswoman, Ann Davis, told a reporter for the Associated
Press that Ballard used a printed itinerary, instead of a boarding
pass, to breeze through TSA's security checkpoints.
Ballard reportedly obtained the itinerary from an American
ticket agent when he inquired about a same-day flight. He told the
ticket agent the price was too high after the itinerary had been
printed, and then used the itinerary -- which the TSA said was
printed on the same paper as used for a boarding pass -- to board
His deception was discovered by the cabin crew when they
conducted their preflight head count. Ballard was removed,
interrogated, and ultimately arrested.
The TSA is blaming the airline for the security lapse, and
American has been threatened with a fine of up to $25,000.
The government agency has made no statement about its own
performance in the matter. In the past TSA has shied away from
punishing its own members for errors or misconduct, claiming that
any prosecution would compromise sensitive security
While the finger-pointing between the airline and the TSA is
likely to continue, this might be one of those cases where both
sides could take a look at their procedures -- ideally together --
and suggest improvements.
In the interim, a stiff fine may not be the best way to
encourage this... but it could pay for eye exams for the TSA
screeners in Newark...