National News

Man able to fly from NY to LA with expired boarding pass, invalid ID

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Nigerian man is expected in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday after slipping through security at two major airports. The man flew from New York's JFK airport to LAX last week with an expired boarding pass. Then, he tried it again.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, the TSA has required you to show a boarding pass and ID when flying, but according an FBI affidavit, 24-year-old Olajide Noibe slipped through the system.

The FBI said on Friday night, Noibi got through the TSA security check at JFK Airport and boarded a Virgin America flight to LAX. It wasn't until after the flight was airborne that the flight crew realized an extra passenger was onboard.

According to an FBI affidavit, Noibi sat in a seat that was supposed to be empty. Flight attendants found that suspicious, so they asked him for a boarding pass. He provided one, but it was a day old and had someone else's name on it.

Despite all that, the flight continued on to LAX, and Noibi was able to get off the plane and spend several days in the L.A. area. It's unclear what Noibi did during those days.

"Considering all that they put you through, yes, I am surprised," said Vickie Miles of Sherman Oaks.

"We can have the best technology," said former TSA Security Director Joseph Morris. "You can have the best processes and plans, but again it comes down to the human factor and human error."

Noibi returned to LAX and said he spent the night at Gate 51 inside the security barrier. He then walked up to board Wednesday's Delta flight to Atlanta, again trying to use an expired boarding pass and with no valid ID.

According to the FBI affidavit, a Delta flight attendant alerted authorities when he tried to present a faulty boarding pass with someone else's name on it. He was taken into custody, and numerous investigations were launched. After a search of his bag, investigators found he was carrying 10 expired boarding passes.

"And now almost ten years since September 11th and the most basic element of security has been breached," said New York Rep. Peter King. "It's inexcusable."

Virgin America admitted that a passenger was able to board a flight after presenting an invalid boarding pass. According to a statement, Noibi slept through most of the flight, and the crew did not feel he was a security threat.

"It appears staff may have missed an alert when the passenger presented a boarding pass from a prior flight," the airline said in a statement.

Agents said Noibi admitted he did not pay for the flight. He didn't have a passport, and his only identification was a University of Michigan ID. His Illinois driver's license has been suspended since 2009 for not paying traffic fines, and lists his residence in suburban Chicago where he also has an office.

The Nigerian national is a self proclaimed African missionary and has posted numerous photographs of himself on his website.

Noibi made a post on his website a week ago: "3 days, 3 cities, Chicago, Detroit and now I can spy with my little eye New York City."

Noibi told the FBI that he went to L.A. to try to recruit people for his software business, but officials said he didn't know anybody there.

The TSA said it does not believe Noibi is connected to terrorism. If Noibi is found guilty of being a stowaway, he could face up to five years behind bars.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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