Airlines

Former Airline Employee Busted for Attempting One Last Free Flight

Former Airline Employee Busted for Attempting One Last Free Flight
Joe Cortez

A former airline worker is facing charges of trespassing, after attempting to catch a free flight to Cancun. Police say Narada Wilson entered the secure zone of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and boarded the aircraft with a valid ticket, but was arrested after the flight was returned to the terminal.

A former Piedmont Airlines employee was arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) after police say he tried to catch one last free flight to Mexico. In a press release, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department says 39-year-old Narada Wilson was taken into custody on one count of trespassing.

Former Employee Boarded on Valid Pass, but Flight was Quickly Recalled

According to policy, Wilson was able to get past the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, carrying a valid American Airlines boarding pass. From there, he was able to board American Airlines Flight 881, leaving CLT for Cancun, Mexico.

A quick investigation determined that Wilson was not supposed to be able to have the ticket, as he was no longer employed with American subsidiary Piedmont. However, the flight was successfully loaded and departed CLT after the discovery. Police were able to contact the pilots, who promptly returned to the airport. Wilson was taken into custody without further incident.

Before being allowed to depart for a second time, the aircraft was searched by airport division officers and police dogs to ensure there were no threats to passenger safety. Wilson was interviewed and taken into custody, but detectives did not elaborate on what they discovered. The police department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on the case.

As of press time, there was no record Wilson being in custody at the Mecklenburg County Jail. Police are asking for anyone with additional information to contact the police department or leave a tip anonymously at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.

Non-Revenue Travel Scams May Result in Serious Jail Time

When former employees try to use their revoked travel benefits, it can result in serious jail time. In September 2020, a former Mesa Airlines employee faced 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to forging airline credentials to help people get free non-revenue travel aboard Spirit Airlines.

View Comments (8)

8 Comments

  1. J0lt_C0la

    June 9, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    The recently former employee went through security with a valid pass. I feel as though this should be a civil courts issue, to be handled in the future, rather than a criminal and/or safety issue that needed to be addressed with law enforcement at that very moment. (It would be different if he had used expired crew credentials to bypass security, or something of the sort.)

  2. J0lt_C0la

    June 9, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    And bringing up someone who forged airline credentials to get other people onto a plane feels like a stretch, if not a red herring.

  3. NonnaGoes

    June 10, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    I’m confused. If he obtained the pass as an employee, why would he no longer be able to use it?

    Seems extremely petty to me.

  4. Morgacj2004

    June 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Another ridiculous overreaction by the airlines and TSA. These people have NO common sense and don’t give a damm about inconvenience to everyone else. This employee was NOT a security threat and this should have been handled as a civil internal matter by Piedmont. Stupidity to the max!

  5. c502cid

    June 11, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    What’s probably more important and wasn’t addressed was if he was wearing a mask.

  6. Transpacificflyer

    June 11, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    I think there is a little more to the story than what was given. It would be interesting to know why the person was no longer an employee. Searching the aircraft as was done suggests that there was a perception of a threat to the safety of the aircraft. Considering the large number of violent incidents involving terminated employees in the USA, there may have been a legitimate concern.

  7. CPRich

    June 16, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    “Faced 20 years in prison” – sensationalist much?

    The employee who ran a scheme for years involving identify theft and booked hundreds of flights for many people received 2.5 years in prison.

    Hardly comparable to one guy getting on one flight himself.

  8. FlyingEgghead

    June 16, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    This summary is quite garbled. I find no indication in any sources that it was a “free flight” related to being an airline employee, or that “Wilson was not supposed to be able to have the ticket”. Rather, the issue was simply that he did not go through the proper TSA screening. “An airport employee observed Wilson bypassing security and gaining ‘illegal entry to the secure side of the airport,’ according to a CLT statement.” (https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article252040778.html) Exactly what J0lt_C0la said above “would be different” is apparently what happened. He didn’t “get past” security as in going through it the normal way as this summary suggests, but rather circumvented it. This makes the police response much more understandable.

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