March 22, 2024

QR codes are making it easier to steal plane tickets

A Texas man was arrested for using a boarding pass he photographed off someone else’s phone

A Texas man was arrested in Salt Lake City on Sunday after he was discovered roaming around on a Delta Air Lines flight without a designated seat to call his own. How did he get on the plane in the first place? The man allegedly photographed a fellow passenger’s boarding pass without their knowledge and successfully used it to board the flight.

Wicliff Yves Fleurizard, a 26-year-old from Texas, told police he was in Utah on a snowboarding trip but needed to get back to Texas to see family who had arrived from Florida. Fleurizard successfully got through security at Salt Lake City International Airport using his Florida ID and a boarding pass, according to a TSA official who talked with the New York Times Wednesday.

But it’s not clear whether the boarding pass Fleurizard used to get through security was the same one he presented to actually get on the plane at the gate on Sunday. Court documents indicate authorities saw Fleurizard taking photos of “multiple passenger’s phones and/or boarding passes while they were not looking.” However, this activity was done “in the boarding area,” according to the documents, suggesting he got through TSA security by using a different boarding pass.

The court documents indicate a “minor female passenger” had an issue while trying to get on the flight out of Salt Lake. When her boarding pass was scanned “the system showed that she was already onboard.” The girl was traveling alone on a ticket purchased by her father, and surveillance footage at the airport allegedly showed Fleurizard photographing the girl’s phone.

The flight crew apparently noticed something was amiss immediately after Fleurizard boarded the flight and he tried to open the emergency equipment storage door. A flight attendant directed him to the bathroom, presumably because it appeared he was confused, and Fleurizard “spent a significant amount of time in the lavatory,” without locking the door.

When the rest of the plane had finished boarding, Fleurizard left the front bathroom and headed for a bathroom at the rear of the plane. It was at that point flight attendants really knew something was wrong, given the fact that it was a full flight and there were no empty seats left on the plane. When asked about his seat, Fleurizard replied he was in seat 21F, though that seat was obviously taken.

Flight attendants verified the passenger in 21F had paid for their ticket and the plane returned to the gate. After being arrested, Fleurizard “admitted he had made a mistake and was only trying to get home,” according to court documents. Fleurizard has been charged with being a stowaway, though it’s not clear when he’ll next appear in court.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.

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