Passenger takes wrong flight without a boarding pass

Sinead Moore
large commercial airplane is...
large commercial airplane is...

An 'inebriated' passenger who did not have an airline boarding pass somehow managed to pass THREE security checkpoints and fly on a plane he had not been booked onto.

On April 25, 37-year-old Liju Verghese landed in Mumbai airport from an international flight.

He was booked onto an onward domestic flight to Nagpur with Jet Airways - but instead he boarded a flight to Rajkot.

According to the Times of India, Mr Verghese was in an inebriated state at the time.

He cleared the security check at the domestic terminal and, with his security-stamped boarding pass and a bag, he proceeded to the security hold area to wait for the boarding announcement.

While he was waiting, a boarding call was made for the JetKonnect Mumbai to Rajkot flight.

At this point Mr Verghese proceeded to board the flight to Rajkot, leaving his bag and boarding pass behind.

Mr Verghese first walked past Jet's customer service staff, a mandatory security procedure carried out to ascertain whether the number of passengers who check in for a given flight is equal to the number of passengers who have boarded the aircraft. According to the local press, the airline staffers manually check the seat numbers on each boarding pass and tally it with the data they gather from their check-in desks.

Next, Verghese managed to get past the CISF security personnel who check whether the boarding pass and the tags on the hand baggage of passengers have the CISF's security-cleared stamp.

Verghese then managed to pass security personnel who man the doors of the aircraft to verify whether all passengers are carrying the boarding passes for the right destination, whether their boarding passes and baggage tags carry the CISF security stamp.

On boarding the aircraft, he randomly chose a seat and sat down only to be questioned by a passenger who claimed the seat was theirs. Mr Verghese was then told to occupy any vacant seat available.

A mandatory headcount of passengers did not take place.

Had a headcount taken place, airline staff would have figured out that the flight had one unaccounted passenger on board - a very serious situation from a security point of view.

It was only when Mr Verghese reached Rajkot that he realised he had flown to the wrong destination, reports the Times of India.

He then informed Jet Airways officials. The airline remained clueless until then.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai-Nagpur flight that Mr Verghese was supposed to board departed, but not before finding out that one passenger who had checked in had not reported for boarding. His check-in bags were removed from the aircraft and left at Mumbai airport for a security check.

The worrying incident brings into question the security arrangements at Mumbai airport.

"We are looking into the matter," said a CISF official.

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