national

Tokyo-bound flight returns to LA with unauthorized passenger

29 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
Login to comment

They were lucky they were not mistaken as terrorists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Andy,

“He knew before heading to the airport that his proper destination was not Tokyo.”

Where was he supposed to be going? I was given the impression that both brothers were headed to Tokyo on codeshare flights leaving about the same time. Has this aspect been clarified yet?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's sad that in this age entertainers, via social media, have become society's intellectuals and beacon of knowledge. The fact that she's a model means that her thoughts and account about the incident, and what to do next should override the experience and protocols of the pilot and airline. This article even uses her live tweets as a credible source as if she were a bonafide journalist. The knowledge of pilots, engineers, scientists, professional journalists is put in coach, while that of models, singers, dancers, and athletes is revered in first class.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kiwiboy,

7 passports, more than 150 stamps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to some sources, the brother on the wrong flight was going to Tokyo anycase (on United). Absolute madness. First, how old are the brothers? If they were so young to not even know where they were going, then staff should have double checked. If they were old enough to know where they were going (and I assume anyone over 10 fits that profile), then really, they should go back to school immediately.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blame everyone EXCEPT the person who caused the problem in the first place - the passenger.

As someone who travels internationally full time for work, it’s beyond me how anyone could be this lacking in common sense.

He knew before heading to the airport that his proper destination was not Tokyo. At the check-in counter he would be asked for a passport or ID of some sort. Asked his destination. Given a boarding pass with his destination on it.

Forget about codeshares. Even if confused by that, a glance at the flight board will show your destination city/country. He could easily have found it that way or by asking.

If he sat at the wrong gate waiting to board, they still make announcements that ANA Flight 123 to Tokyo is now accepting Star Aliance platinum members, etc.

There’s a really long list of points where aside from being comatose, you would realize THIS is the wrong plane, gate, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So what was Homeland Security doing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why spend extra hours going back to LA, inconveniencing everybody on the plane? I think the pilot needs his head examined.

In aviation, people's inconvenience is the LAST priority. Safety and the profit come first.

First, it's not the pilot's decision. The airline has rules and procedures in place regarding what to do in such a scenario and it's his duty to comply with those so long as doing so doesn't jeopardize the safety of passengers and crew.

It's easy for us to say "in this case they should have just...". And probably in this case the best thing for everyone would have been to just carry on. But the aviation industry doesn't run on a case-by-case, they have rules and regulations to prevent accidents.

In 1985 a check-in lady checked a bag for a passenger all the way to India despite him not having a confirmed seat the whole way yet. She initially said no, but relented. She probably thought 'just this time'. It turned out to be a bomb and killed 329 people. 99% of the time it would have been OK, but she got it wrong that once.

Rules and regulations seem silly most of the time, but they're there to prevent anyone making their own decisions that COULD pose a risk a safety.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"I probably have more intenational stamps in my passports (7 in all) than you. "

Techall,

I hope you mean 7 passports, rather than 7 international stamps. Even at that, there will be plenty of posters here who will have experience than yourself. (I have that many filled passports, but I know lots of people who travel more than I do, and wouldn't claim to be the expert).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The actions of ANA do not make much sense here. If they really thought the guy was a danger why didn't they land at the nearest airport as soon as possible (presumably somewhere in Canada)? Why spend extra hours going back to LA, inconveniencing everybody on the plane? I think the pilot needs his head examined.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Techall:

You don't need a passport to fly to Japan but you need one to enter the country. They could have stopped the passenger at immigration and sent them back on another flight, happens all the time.

I probably have more intenational stamps in my passports (7 in all) than you. I am been on flights with people who have lost passports and only have letters from embassies, stateless persons, military flying on orders (to some countries). I have also been on flights with people who have more than one passport. I have been on flights with people whose country ceased to exist and their passports were invalid. The world is a little more complicated than your occasoinal junket.

You never know other people's situations when checking-in/boarding so I highly doubt that in just 7 international flights you're AWARE of all of those circumstances you mention above. I've had 7 international stamps in my passport this year + about 30 domestic flights and wouldn't have a clue who around me is flying on what passport or if they're stateless or not etc. Sounds like a lot of hot air.

Regardless, if a 'normal person' didn't have a passport, or even if they did but just lost it in the toilet before boarding, they wouldn't be allowed to board. They'd miss their flight and need to apply for a new passport from that country.

If it's a special circumstance (I don't think there are as many as you seem to think, if any) and a passport actually wasn't needed, extra care would be taken and they'd definitely have caught the wrong name.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kiwiboy is right, it's not the passport it's the security of having baggage on the UA flight that wasn't supposed to be there plus a passenger not supposed to be on the ANA flight.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We know it's two brothers, both of whom had flights at similar times to different destinations. I reckon they both cleared security and passport control and sometime while together airside they've accidently switched boarding passes and then proceeded to board the wrong planes.

As he was now holding a valid boarding pass for that flight, the computer was happy when it was scanned. The only way to catch it would be for the ground staff to notice the names on the passport and boarding pass weren't a complete match. But, how closely do they check the names when scanning 300 people, really?

It sound impossible to board the wrong plane, but when flying often the procedure becomes numbing and you run on autopilot - no longer checking your ticket a million times etc. I've never got on the wrong plane, but I've walked to the wrong gate out habit, missed one and sat in the wrong seat a few times. Easy to make silly mistakes when you fly a lot and stop being careful.

The safety issue is most likely stemming from the fact there's now bags on the plane without their owner. Brother or not, the correct bags made the flight but the wrong person got on. That person doesn't know what the bags contain. Worst case, it could be a bomb.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

“if he hadn't paid for a ticket at all to Japan on ANA or any other airline there wouldn't have been any choice but to turn around.”

Are people not actually reading the article? Or has the article been changed?

“incident involved two brothers - one ticketed on ANA and the other on a United Airlines flight leaving around the same time.......both cleared security and had valid boarding passes.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It doesn't make sense, especially the story on NHK that the man was discovered in a seat reserved for flight attendants three hours after takeoff. Although I'm sure the airlines have guidelines for handling these situations and if he hadn't paid for a ticket at all to Japan on ANA or any other airline there wouldn't have been any choice but to turn around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How!? For the life of me I can't wrap my head around how ANA dropped the ball. They scan your ticket before you can board to ensure you are on the flight's roster. Not to mention how the passenger was obviously not cognizant at all.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

4 hours into an 11 hour flight, that means 4 hours back and probably an hour or two waiting for a landing spot , not much difference.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Jasmin, I probably have more intenational stamps in my passports (7 in all) than you. I am been on flights with people who have lost passports and only have letters from embassies, stateless persons, military flying on orders (to some countries). I have also been on flights with people who have more than one passport. I have been on flights with people whose country ceased to exist and their passports were invalid. The world is a little more complicated than your occasoinal junket.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

The most likely scenario is that this was a person wanted by the US but that authorities were not confident that the Japanese would extradite or return.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Techall : You absolutely DO have to have a valid passort to board ANY international flight, including JAPAN. (to assume otherwise is a little absurd and suggests you dont have a lot of international stamps in your passport)

As far as the plane turning around 4 hours into flight. Its a 13 hour flight. The uncertified passenger could have been a terrorist prepared to blow up the entire lane. Surely you see the logic behind the pilot’s decision to not jeopardize the lives of the other 500 or so defenseless passengers for 9 more hours as opposed to 4 hours, for convenience sake. “Sort it all out up arrival” ... as though some PotatoHead left his iphone at the check-in counter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, that doesn't happen often. But getting onto the wrong plane does happen from time to time. Probably the passenger wouldn't have noticed until the plane hadn't landed at the expected time, and after asking a Steward(ess) about the delay, would have brought some shock to find that they were outbound for the other side of the World...

Now the question is, why would they return the flight and inconvenience the majority of Passengers, rather than continuing, and putting the stray passenger upon the next flight back ?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Chrissy Teigen was with her celeb husband John Legend on this flight. Guess I should head to a celeb gossip site like TMZ or Daily Mail if I want more details on this odd story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Reminds me of that time someone bound for Oakland, CA mistakenly was allowed to board a flight for Aukland, NZ. Everyone was embarrassed.

That's an upgrade!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Alex, you don't need a passport to fly to Japan but you need one to enter the country. They could have stopped the passenger at immigration and sent them back on another flight, happens all the time.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Reminds me of that time someone bound for Oakland, CA mistakenly was allowed to board a flight for Aukland, NZ. Everyone was embarrassed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They could have waited til the plane is landed in Tokyo and flag the person and put him/her back to the next flight to LA rather than inconvenience the whole plane (I mean that could work). Just saying.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

techall if this passenger did not have a passport then the flight is forced to return back to the originating airport, if they mixed up the boarding passes then someone more than likely also failed to verify that the passenger had a passport.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just checked and UA and ANA have some coshared flights.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does anyone have any further on this story? Doesn't seem to make sense. Four hours into a flight you would think they would complete the journey and sort out the mixup in Japan. I am thinking there is more to it than that.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites