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June 30, 2011

Virgin Airline's Stowaway: Man arrested after taking flight with invalid pass

Federal agents arrested Olajide Noibi for stowing away on a Virgin America flight from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Los Angeles on June 24, 2011, without having a valid boarding pass.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Virgin America failed to notice that Noibi's identification did not match the name on his boarding pass.

While the plane was in flight, crew members became suspicious when he was sitting in a seat that the passenger list indicated should have been empty. Noibi was questioned by law enforcement officers after that flight but was not detained.

Noibi returned to Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday June 28, 2011. He again cleared security screening and claimed to have spent the night in the airport. Federal agents arrested Noibi the next day when he attempted to board a Delta Air Lines flight to Atlanta without a valid boarding pass. Noibi had 10 expired passes under different names in his bag at the time of the arrest.

Motley Rice aviation lawyer and former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation Mary Schiavo said that Noibi's repeated ability to get through screening checkpoints and ticket agents seriously undermines efforts that have been made to improve security measures, as well as the public's faith in the system.

Hear Mary discuss the recent security breach on NPR.

View comments from Mary in coverage featured by CBS affiliates WCSC and WPRI.

Read the full article on Virgin Airline's stowaway passenger in the Los Angeles Times.

Read about Motley Rice's aviation lawyers and how they work to protect passenger rights and fight on behalf of victims' family members or injured crash survivors.