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TSA Investigating Woman Who Boarded American Airlines Flight From Nashville to Los Angeles Without Ticket

TSA Investigating Woman Who Boarded American Airlines Flight From Nashville to Los Angeles Without Ticket


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is investigating a woman who passed a security checkpoint and boarded a flight at Nashville International Airport (BNA) without a ticket or boarding pass. This incident is the third time in two months that a passenger flew between two destinations without any form of identification. A Russian man flew from Copenhagen (CPH) to Los Angeles (LAX), and a British man flew from London (LHR) to New York (JFK) in December and February, respectively. Both incidents involved passengers flying internationally without a passport.


Photo: Christopher Arboleda | AeroXplorer


The Incident


After arriving at BNA on February 7, the woman managed to pass through the first layer of airport security without getting caught. She found an area in an unoccupied security lane and passed through when no one was watching. This move allowed her to avoid showing identification since officials at manned security lanes check a passenger's ID and boarding pass before letting them through. She later returned to another security line after passing through the first layer, where her luggage was screened, and she went through a security scanner.


The morning of February 7 must have been quiet if some lanes were unoccupied and not even passengers saw the woman sneak past security. Regardless, she proceeded to a gate to board an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles. It is unclear how she boarded without documents since gate agents scan boarding passes to verify that a passenger booked a ticket before allowing them onto the flight. Furthermore, American's crew are required to take a headcount of all passengers before a flight takes off. 




The woman boarded American Airlines flight 1393 (AA 1393), which operates daily using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Data from FlightAware shows that this flight departed BNA at 7:25 a.m. and arrived at LAX at 10:11 a.m. local time. The incident did not create any flight delays since AA 1393 normally departs and arrives at approximately these specific times. TSA confirmed the details surrounding the incident through various statements on February 15. 


Photo: Seth Johnson | AeroXplorer




The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took the woman into custody and questioned her after she arrived in Los Angeles. The FBI investigation is still ongoing, and she has not yet been charged as of February 16.




TSA released this statement about the incident:


"TSA is reviewing the circumstances of this matter, but can confirm that the traveler in question was physically screened, along with their carry-on items, without incident at the Nashville International Airport security checkpoint on February 7th before boarding the flight. TSA and its airline partners are cooperating with the ongoing law enforcement investigation."


Photo: Nathan Francois | AeroXplorer


Meanwhile, American Airlines released this statement to the media:


"On Feb. 7, American Airlines flight 1393 was met by law enforcement upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Safety and security are our highest priorities, and we are assisting law enforcement in the investigation."


BNA adjusted its security operations to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. The airport plans to block off unoccupied security lanes, especially during times when fewer passengers are passing through BNA. Enhancing security as BNA faces a busy period in the coming weeks due to Nashville's popularity as a spring break destination. 



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George Mwangi
Aviation writer based in Washington, DC. Visited 21 countries on thousands of miles of flights.

Comments (4)

Carol White Zajicek After 45 years as a Flight Attendant for American Airlines I can assure you that since 1979 when I started it has not been one of my duties to do a physical head count.Of passengers. There were odd requests from agents to help them do a head count years ago but I can assure you that has not happened since we went to computer checkin in the large late 1990’s.
53d ago • Reply
Steven Rudnick Is it for security reasons that there are no details here about how the woman was caught?
54d ago • Reply
Hvu Nguyen you 've had a very good question, Steven
50d ago • Reply

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