Security lapse at PHL: Man checking in at Philadelphia International Airport told he's already on the plane

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November 12, 2013 5:45:16 AM PST
An apparent security lapse at Philadelphia International Airport is raising some important questions.

At the American Airlines counter Sunday, an agent told passenger Brad Gertz that he was already on his flight to Chicago.

"He told me about three times, 'you're already on a flight, your flight already left,' so now I'm worried. [I was thinking,] 'Is this identity theft?'" Gertz said.

It wasn't. The airline later figured out it gave Gertz's boarding pass to another passenger with a different name.

What's troublesome is that that man made it through security, even though his ticket and his identification didn't match up.

"To not look at a name on a ticket and on a license, and let that person through - I mean, you might as well not let them go through the scanners either," Gertz said.

American Airlines says this mistake was realized at the gate and that passenger, who used a credit card to check in, received the correct boarding pass.

"The fact that American took a credit card, didn't ID them, still ran it under my identity, gave them my boarding pass, TSA let them through... they are both held mutually responsible," Gertz said.

It's a case of human error, twice. And with thousands of people going through Philadelphia International's TSA checkpoints every day, the incident has raised security concerns.

"I would hope they are doing their side, checking things off and making sure that everything is correct," said passenger Douglas Sanders of Exton, Pa.

Gertz did make it home to Chicago.

American apologized and gave him a $300 voucher. But he says that's not enough.

"Because if one person can get in under someone else's name, what's saying that's not happening to a bunch of other people," Gertz said.

Late Monday, the TSA responded with the following statement to Action News:

"TSA is reviewing allegations that document verification procedures were not followed properly at Philadelphia International Airport. Passengers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers, including watch list matching, thorough screening at the checkpoint, Federal Air Marshals, armed pilots and a vigilant public, as well as many others, both seen and unseen."


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