'This is not my fault:' Ticketless passenger who boarded plane explains herself
Woman says TSA, Delta let her board using selfie as ID
ORLANDO, Fla. – Tuesday afternoon, almost two and a half weeks after she walked onto and was then walked off Delta flight 1516 at the Orlando International Airport, the woman is still defiant.
"It's their fault," she said. "This is not my fault.'
The woman, who News 6 is not identifying at her request and because she is not charged with a crime, insisted she did nothing wrong.
She was escorted off the Atlanta-bound flight after she could not produce a boarding pass or valid identification.
The woman said she showed a selfie -- a picture of herself on her cellphone -- to a Transportation Security Administration agent at the security checkpoint podium, to the Delta agent at the gate, and again to crew members and security personnel on board the plane.
Passengers on board the plane said the woman was told that the selfie was not an acceptable form of identification.
The woman said she doesn't have a driver's license.
Regardless, she blamed the TSA and Delta for allowing her on board with her selfie.
She said she could not produce a boarding pass because she threw it out at some point after stepping onto the jet bridge.
Passengers said crew members searched the plane's trash cans, aisles, and the jet bridge for 45 minutes looking for the woman's boarding pass.
Cellphone video shows the woman yelling at crew members as she was removed from the plane after a nearly an hour.
All passengers were then asked to leave the plane for an intense rescreening -- luggage checks and pat downs, according to passengers -- at the gate before the plane was allowed to depart.
Tuesday afternoon at her Orlando apartment, the woman was still just as adamant that she had been allowed through the TSA checkpoint and onto to the plane.
She said she was headed for North Carolina on Oct. 5 to visit family and had taken a shuttle to the Orlando Airport.
She bought a ticket at the automated kiosk near the Delta check-in counter using her credit card, she said.
News 6 checked with Delta on Tuesday afternoon. A check-in representative said tickets can only be purchased in person at the counter or online, not using a kiosk.
The woman refused to show News 6 any proof of her ticket purchase. She would not provide a paper or online credit card statement.
On Oct. 11, FBI Tampa Division Agent Andrea Aprea said its investigation was finished.
"After considering the evidence and other factors, including the availability of civil and administrative remedies, we will not be pursuing criminal charges at this time," Aprea said. "No further comment."
Aprea would not say what the "civil and administrative remedies" might be and neither did the TSA.
To date, more than two weeks after the incident, neither the FBI, TSA, Orlando International Airport, Delta Air Lines, nor the Orlando Police Department will say exactly what happened at the TSA checkpoint and Delta gate that allowed the woman to board the plane.
Tuesday afternoon, Orlando International Airport senior director of public affairs Carolyn Fennell again insisted the incident was not a security breach since the woman was "screened." Fennell said the woman was checked by the screening machines but would not discuss if the woman's ID or boarding pass were checked by TSA agents at the podium.
Fennell sent News 6 this statement:
"The safety and security of the traveling public and airport employees is always a primary concern of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA). As in all security incidents, GOAA works in conjunction with our federal partners to identify, evaluate and take appropriate measures to insure safety. GOAA continues to work closely with all federal agencies involved in the incident and is confident in the viability of the screening process at Orlando International Airport. Additional requests for information or statements about the October 5th incident must be directed to the appropriate federal agency that oversees the screening process at Orlando International Airport, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and or the investigating agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)."
Tuesday afternoon, several additional TSA supervisory agents were seen standing behind agents seated at the podium. The supervisory agents were also controlling the flow of passengers and stopping the line when it bunched up around the screening machines, creating a clear separation between the screening machines and ID/boarding pass-check podiums.
"We don't discuss our security procedures," Koshetz said. "And in relationship to the passenger, due to federal privacy laws we cannot discuss what civil penalties might be imposed on any particular passenger. Also, due to privacy laws, we do not release the names of individuals."
Delta Air Lines spokesperson Lisa Hellerstedt said Delta would not release the findings of its review of the incident.
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