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Wow. It Was Pretty Easy to Sneak Past TSA PreCheck

Wow. It Was Pretty Easy to Sneak Past TSA PreCheck
FlyerTalk

Did a 15-year-old manage to sneak through TSA PreCheck with nothing more than an expired drink ticket? And what does that say about how well passengers are screened before they fly?

One of the only thoughts that makes waiting in the interminable lines, taking your shoes off, and abandoning any potentially-dangerous liquids over three ounces on the other side of the metal detector (in a trash can that’s very near other passengers for potentially-dangerous liquids) is the thought that all of this is designed to make you safe.

It’s a hassle, it means you have to get to the airport earlier and even PreCheck lines are more crowded than ever. But, it’s these kinds of checks and attention to detail that prevents people with ill-intent or who aren’t supposed to be there off of your flight.

Unless, of course, that person is 15-year-old with autism who found an old drink voucher lying around.

In news that is bound to make everyone uncomfortable about the efficacy of airport security–and especially the Orlando International Airport TSA under who’s watch this happened–teenager Sade Subbs managed to make it through the Transportation Security Administration PreCheck using another passenger’s abandoned drink voucher.

She had no adult supervision and had been reported missing from her home in Apopka, Florida roughly 30 miles away.

Sade Subbs TSA Drink Voucher PreCheck

Sade Subbs, Image Source: Facebook

“She said she wanted to go to Asia to see the Chinese blossoms or something,” her father said in an interview with Fox 35 after her return. “She could have gotten on an airplane. It could have been a lot worse.”

It was a Southwest Airlines employee who found the teen “wandering around the gate area” and approached her to help her find her gate. When they asked for her boarding pass, Subbs handed her a drink coupon which she says he “found on the floor.”

When the employee searched the name on the slip, they found that it was issued to someone else for a flight that had already departed and alerted the police.

The TSA maintains that Subbs used a “valid and current” boarding pass to sneak past. “Although she presented someone else’s boarding pass, she was screened and the TSA screening procedures did assure she posed no threat to aviation,” the agency said in a statement to ABC News. “This is an example where the many layers of security worked.”

However, the teen did not have one when she was spotted by the Southwest employee. Airport surveillance shows Subbs going through the PreCheck lane but not the documentation that she used.

Once Subbs was apprehended, she was identified as a missing teen and returned home.

View Comments (10)

10 Comments

  1. strickerj

    January 21, 2020 at 11:54 am

    The TSA statement is wrong – the proper procedure wasn’t followed because we know Subbs didn’t have a boarding pass in her name. If she found a boarding pass and presented it, then the agent didn’t check its name against the would-be passenger’s ID, as required.

    That said, I don’t think her father is correct that she could have gotten on a flight – she still would have had to get past a gate agent checking boarding passes, which she didn’t have at that point.

    Still, major failure all around here.

  2. NextTrip

    January 21, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    A 15-year old doesn’t need ID, just a boarding pass. If she showed the TSA document checker a boarding pass, they wouldn’t know if it was her boarding pass or someone else’s.

  3. vargha

    January 22, 2020 at 5:51 am

    TSA = Taking Scissors Away

  4. dginil

    January 22, 2020 at 5:59 am

    I’m not surprised. Every time I’ve checked in an unaccompanied minor I’ve wondered how they can be allowed to fly without compliant photo id, or really any id. And with some airlines at age 12 they also no longer require adult accompaniment (non passenger or airline employee) at any point before boarding.

  5. donna538

    January 22, 2020 at 7:26 am

    strickerj, she certainly could have gotten on a flight. There are some gate agents that are so inept that they don’t pay attention to whether the gate reader beeps or not. People have gotten on a wrong flight and if the gate agents are not aware of their area, people could slip out those doors. (I have seen that in one of the big airports)

  6. Grog

    January 22, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    All this ado about what? She’s 15 and can more or less do anything she wants, anywhere she wants in the U.S. except–thanks to an overzealous government and a national population that let them get that way–fly on a plane without a bunch of hassles. Oh my Lord (well, somebody’s Lord), she could’ve *this* and she could’ve *that. Well, whatever, because she could’ve done any of those things somewhere other than an airport. The only thing surprising to me in this story is that she wasn’t sent to a detention center close to the southern border based on her skin color and lack of ID.

  7. SamirD

    January 22, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    At CLT, they now have people to direct people to flights on the little planes that are parked outside and that you pretty much just walk up to. I’m sure A LOT of people were getting on the wrong flight for such measures to be put in place. A kid could still easily just run out into the field, and with just a boarding pass–kinda scary if that’s not an innocent kid and has other things in mind…

  8. MimiB22

    January 24, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Our 14 year old grandson flew from CT to FL to visit us. He had a legit boarding pass but no one ever asked for ID to check if he was the person named on the pass. He had brought a copy of his birth certificate and a letter from his father giving permission for him to fly as unaccompanied, but never had to show them, including regular pre-boarding security or the gate boarding agent. I’ve observed that teenagers seem to be in a grey area… allowed to fly unaccompanied, but not required to have or produce any ID to board. This should make us all uneasy.

  9. formeraa

    January 28, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    I once inadvertently passed through security with an old boarding pass from 3 months earlier (same airline, same flight number, but different date). The TSA agent carefully checked all the info on the boarding pass and let me through. When I went to board, the gate scanner beeped (indicated a duplicate seat assignment). She looked at the boarding pass and her computer. She said, “Apparently, we’ve changed your seat assignment. Your new seat is: xxx.”

    About halfway through the flight, I realized that I had grabbed an old boarding pass out of my bag accidentally. Sure enough, it was for the earlier date. Great security at the airport!!!

  10. jamesteroh

    January 30, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    How did she get past TSA without a legit boarding pass though and just a drink ticket? They always scan your BP and the line checker always looks for the Precheck on the BP to make sure you can use that line.

    More improtant thing is how a 15 year old kid managed to get to an airport 30 miles away and why her parents didn’t notice her missing.

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