NH175 returned to LAX due to extra passenger

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Old Jan 7, 18, 2:55 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think she reads Flyertalk

I am looking forward to your detailed review, however.
Haha tru dat!!!

Yep, will share as detailed of a story as possible, as well as ANA's response. Also, will complain to Homeland Security the way in which ANA handled the passenger in question onboard prior to returning to LAX and how they potentially jeopardized the safety of all onboard. Utterly shocking.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by ANAStarFlyer View Post
Haha tru dat!!!

Yep, will share as detailed of a story as possible, as well as ANA's response. Also, will complain to Homeland Security the way in which ANA handled the passenger in question onboard prior to returning to LAX and how they potentially jeopardized the safety of all onboard. Utterly shocking.
What was this stowaway like? threatening or dangerous, or just sheepish and embarrassed after being caught? If everyone knew who he was at that point and knew he was the cause of the flight turning around, I'm surprised some of the western passengers didn't beat him to an inch of his life as revenge for ruining their trips.
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Old Jan 9, 18, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
What was this stowaway like? threatening or dangerous, or just sheepish and embarrassed after being caught? If everyone knew who he was at that point and knew he was the cause of the flight turning around, I'm surprised some of the western passengers didn't beat him to an inch of his life as revenge for ruining their trips.
Assaulting another person is still a criminal charge in both the U.S. and Japan. If you beat someone up publicly with multiple witnesses seeing you doing it, I am sure you'd agree it's a very bad idea no matter the reason.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 11:00 am
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NH 175 12/26, Seat 5A

Facts:

NH175 departed without incident on 12/26. The only minor commotion I noticed prior to departure was John Legend and Chrissy Teigen boarding and some picture-taking taking place in the F cabin directly in front of us, as all boarding at LAX is done via 2L. There was a ~30 mins delay due to prepping the aircraft, but once onboard, we were told our shortened flight time would get us into Narita more or less on time. All in all, uneventful. With 30+ open seats, mostly in C, service on NH175 was extremely pleasant. Meal service wrapped up in 2 hours or so. Provided this was a daytime flight, the cabin was still dimly lit, and many passengers were still awake around the 4 hour mark.

I had dozed off and was woken up by a flight attendant around this time, at the 4 hour mark. I was told that "there was a discrepancy between the actual passenger count and that of the flight manifest and in abiding by U.S. law, the pilot has decided to return to LAX." They phrased it as if all of this had just happened, but provided it was such a random time inflight, I can only assume that the discovery was made during meal service and there must have been some back and forth within the cockpit and/or ANA heads to come to this decision. It appeared as though the flight attendants proceeded to notify everyone else in the main, rear C cabin. Roughly 5 minutes later, an announcement was made on the PA repeating the fact and gasps followed. Since the announcement did not specify if there were more than one unaccounted for individual(s) onboard and whether there was absolutely no security threat, this was actually rather scary. Some disgruntled passengers from the rear C cabin confronted and complained to flight attendants in the galley for ~15 mins. From eavesdropping, I could hear these passenger's claiming that it made no sense for our plane to return to LAX 4 hours into the flight. Fully agreed. As others have mentioned above, they were also arguing that if a security threat existed, we should land immediately rather than return to LAX. Again, fully agreed. However, the flight attendants made clear that it was the captain's decision to return to LAX and this decision would not be reversed. As such, we were all helpless and our destiny was in the hands of the cockpit.

While the crew was apologetic, they phrased it more from the standpoint of causing an inconvenience and that the return to LAX was inevitable because U.S. mandated us to do so. However, it should have been 100% ANA's responsibility to check headcount and ensure everyone onboard was accounted for properly, especially since there are multiple layers of checks and balances prior to boarding: 1) Check-in counters, 2) ANA staff glancing through boarding passes and passports prior to zone boarding, 3) Scanning boarding passes and passports being checked, 4) Showing boarding pass and passport in the jet bridge just prior to boarding the plane, 5) Flight attendants checking headcount prior to door closing. They failed to make an announcement acknowledging their failure to conduct their preflight checks and admit to their shortcomings, and this was a turn-off.

Unsure fully of our safety and helpless, we all proceeded to mind our own business. I watched as the airshow confirmed a U-Turn. The cabin was pretty silent, so I assumed we were safe. No further announcements on this or whether we would be taking off for Narita after dropping off what was described as unaccounted for passenger(s) at LAX. Second meal was served and an uneventful 3+ hours ensued. About an hour prior to landing, an announcement was made that they would be reimbursing us for using inflight WiFi. The flight attendants were still unable to confirm what would happen to our flight. Roughly 30 minutes prior to our arrival into LAX, one flight attendant stowed someone's carry-on luggage in the bin above 5D. Moments later, a Caucasian male, looked mid-20's to early 30's was shuffled to 5D, unaccompanied. Since the flight attendants didn't seem one bit concerned, I assumed this was someone who was re-seated so he could deplane and make another flight.

However, upon landing at LAX a little after 19:00, and taxiing to a remote gate off of TBIT, Homeland Security officers in uniform boarded and escorted the guy in 5D off first. At this point, it was pretty clear, he was the unaccounted for passenger. An announcement was made to remain seated, while more Homeland Security agents scoured through the cabin. They likely escorted off this guy's brother and whoever else they were traveling with. At this point, the ANA app showed that our flight was rescheduled for a 2:00am take-off and 7:00am arrival into Narita on 12/28. I flagged down a flight attendant to re-confirm the details, but she could not confirm. ~5 minutes later, this was confirmed on the PA. They said the 2:00am departure time was for refueling and ensuring crew rest, but the new departure time conveniently allows for the flight to land at Narita after the 22:00-early morning curfew at Narita is lifted... Flight attendants also announced that they arranged a shuttle bus for interested passengers to have a meal at the Crowne Plaza at LAX, likely in a cordoned off area to remain "airside". Once we deplaned at the remote gate, the guy who was moved to 5D prior to landing and several others were being interrogated by Homeland on the slope. They were not getting the kindest looks from the other passengers!

I needed to re-route my itinerary because my final destination was Okinawa. Luckily, I was able to switch to NH 105 for Haneda, so I'm not sure what the setup was like at the Crowne Plaza. However, this was the only known compensation that was announced at this time. Also, there were only a few ground staff present once returning to TBIT, so re-routing issues were being dealt with chaotically in the Star Alliance Lounge... Not representative of a Skytrax 5-star ground service airline.

Some incidents unique to my itinerary and my parents' occurred. I will share this and ANA's response in another post. If anyone else boarded NH175, I would love to hear your stories and am open to having a dialogue with you, if you're trying to engage with ANA for compensation. All in all, extremely disappointed and disgusted at the manner in which ANA dealt with the ordeal. I'd given them my loyalty, nearly a decades worth of DIA, and 1MM, and my life was jeopardized due to their negligence in return!!

Last edited by ANAStarFlyer; Jan 11, 18 at 11:07 am
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Old Jan 11, 18, 3:04 pm
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ANAStarFlyer thanks so much for the detailed first-hand account. (And for keeping the John/Chrissy part short! )
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Old Jan 11, 18, 9:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Global321 View Post
ANAStarFlyer thanks so much for the detailed first-hand account. (And for keeping the John/Chrissy part short! )
For sure. And while the media and comments on social media portrayed Chrissy as being more or less "an entitled celeb", she was calm in person. John was also quiet. This must have been quite frustrating for them if they had press obligations and what not upon landing in Tokyo originally the evening prior. They were also re-routed on NH 105 and sitting amongst the crowd at baggage claim, but nobody recognized them!
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Old Jan 21, 18, 11:28 am
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Apparently it is easier than we think to board a plane unobserved. At least ANA caught it before arriving.....

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/01/...ticket-london/
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Old Jan 21, 18, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
Apparently it is easier than we think to board a plane unobserved. At least ANA caught it before arriving.....

Serial Stowaway Slips Past O?Hare Security, Flies To London « CBS Chicago
What happened on this flight is more logical - fly everyone to their destination, hand over the stowaway to the authorities (ok, in this case, no one knew until she showed up at immigration) and not react in some strange, over the top way that negatively impacts hundreds of other customers.
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Old Feb 2, 18, 4:34 pm
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JCAB

Originally Posted by barney44 View Post
How can this happen.
Easy explanation. The JCAB would have suspended the entire crew (CA FO and all FAs) for the miscount, stowaway, and security breach. By having the flight start/end solely within the FAA’s durisdiction ANA’s PR department would have a much smaller fire to put out. “Entire ANA Flight Crew Suspended” is considerably worse than “Passengers Upset about Inexplicable Air Return.” This is the kind of fear the JCAB causes on a daily basis. And to be honest, they enjoy the unchecked power trip as most of the regulators are aviation college pilot-washouts—the graduates that couldn’t get a pilot job and are now trying to justify their existence.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 7:50 am
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+1 on the fear of the JCAB. They are G.O.D. here.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
Apparently it is easier than we think to board a plane unobserved. At least ANA caught it before arriving.....

Serial Stowaway Slips Past O?Hare Security, Flies To London « CBS Chicago

I believe she was only caught because she did not have a passport. Had she had a passport, this could have gone unreported. Makes you wonder how many times this does happen.

Originally Posted by RogerWilcoBusDriver View Post

Easy explanation. The JCAB would have suspended the entire crew (CA FO and all FAs) for the miscount, stowaway, and security breach. By having the flight start/end solely within the FAA’s durisdiction ANA’s PR department would have a much smaller fire to put out. “Entire ANA Flight Crew Suspended” is considerably worse than “Passengers Upset about Inexplicable Air Return.” This is the kind of fear the JCAB causes on a daily basis. And to be honest, they enjoy the unchecked power trip as most of the regulators are aviation college pilot-washouts—the graduates that couldn’t get a pilot job and are now trying to justify their existence.
While I would have hated to be on the flight that turned around and landed +8 hours, this might be the right course of action for the industry. The cost of turning the plane around, refuel, reload, the PR nightmare, fines, etc. certainly gets the airline's attention and strongly encourage them to have an accurate count. If the crew knew they would be suspended for a 'wrong' count, my guess would be a lot of crews would find the 'right' count before landing.

Anybody know what happened to the stowaway, in terms of punishment?
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Old Feb 6, 18, 3:40 pm
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After reading the entire thread and specifically, the ANAStarFlyer personal account of the events, one question came to mind. The guy was escorted to a front seat with his carryon was mentioned. But was he traveling with checked bag(s)? If so, ANA failed at checkin to notice something was wrong. I would have to imagine checked bag(s) were part of the equation on a trip between the US and Asia unless it was a MR but one wouldn't do a MR with a fake boarding pass, so that doesn't make sense. It would be interesting to find out.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Phoenixtinct View Post
After reading the entire thread and specifically, the ANAStarFlyer personal account of the events, one question came to mind. The guy was escorted to a front seat with his carryon was mentioned. But was he traveling with checked bag(s)? If so, ANA failed at checkin to notice something was wrong. I would have to imagine checked bag(s) were part of the equation on a trip between the US and Asia unless it was a MR but one wouldn't do a MR with a fake boarding pass, so that doesn't make sense. It would be interesting to find out.
My guess would bebthat neither of the two had checked bags. It would add complications to the attempt to fly on the same flight. Complication they would want to try to avoid.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by CPH-Flyer View Post
My guess would bebthat neither of the two had checked bags. It would add complications to the attempt to fly on the same flight. Complication they would want to try to avoid.
Good point! Not to mention, if the culprit who was ultimately moved to 5D prior to LAX arrival had his brother/friends check in his luggage, it would be difficult to argue he didn't have intent to board the incorrect flight. If that is so, ANA should definitely bill him/his family for fuel, airport fees, crew overtime, re-routing costs, etc. It would be a nice 6-7 figure bill.
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