Man With Chicago Ties Arrested As Airliner Stowaway

Updated 06/30/11 – 4:57 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It appears a man from the Chicago area has been arrested for slipping onto a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles, raising major concerns for air travel safety and security.

A Nigerian man is in FBI custody in Los Angeles. What’s troubling federal investigators is that the passenger apparently traveled cross-country even though he was not on a single flight manifest and had a day-old boarding pass that belonged to someone else.

The incident occurred last Friday on a Virgin America flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. The man, identified as Olajide Noibi, was originally interviewed by authorities and then released.

“After take-off, a crew member asked to see Mr. Noibi’s boarding pass and noted the discrepancy and alerted the captain who immediately notified local authorities from the flight deck, whereupon law enforcement met the aircraft upon arrival,” Virgin America said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “After discovery, the crew kept the subject (who was asleep for much of the flight) under surveillance, but at no time felt there was any threat to the security of the flight.”

The incident is especially troubling to officials because Transportation Security Administration agents are required to match boarding passes with passenger ID’s, like drivers licenses — something that seems not to have occurred in this case.

Northwestern University professor and transportation expert Aaron Gellman said the breach is “a very black mark on TSA’s reputation.”

Gellman said the incident shows the TSA needs another look.

“It’s hard not to wonder when Congress is going to finally wake up and realize the situation in TSA is unacceptable,” Gellman said.

The airline said it is working with the FBI to determine how Noibi passed through airport security and boarded the flight without a proper boarding pass.

Noibi was reportedly arrested in Los Angeles on Wednesday when he was found trying to board another flight, this time bound for Atlanta and again with an invalid boarding pass. He allegedly told FBI agents that he’d lost his U.S. passport.

FBI officials said a search of his bag uncovered more than 10 other boarding passes in various names that were not his. Noibi also told agents he planned to go to Nigeria next month and return to the U.S. on Sept. 9.

Noibi appears to have ties to the Chicago area. Records show Noibi has a Willowbrook address, as well as previous addresses in Ann Arbor, Mich. Law enforcement sources tell CBS he produced an I.D. from the University of Michigan.

No one at the Willowbrook home listed as Noibi’s address had much to say about him on Thursday. But one self-described visitor acknowledged knowing him.

“I know him from friends, yes,” the man said. “He’s been in trouble for some time.”

Sources tell CBS News that Noibi has not been charged with any terrorism- or homeland security-related charges. He apparently told investigators last week that he found an unused boarding pass and managed to sneak aboard the airliner.

–CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole and Dana Kozlov contributed to this report.

  • Mike

    Whoever allowed him to board, should be fired. The “passenger” should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Start following the rules–even if they’re black or muslim. The safety of the other passengers depends on it.

    • Roberta Waker

      I agree that those that allowed him through security AND onboard the flight should be fired. Then, when he’s caught they let him go because they didn’t think he was a security risk? These people need to be checked for drugs; our safety is at risk and they allow something like this to happen. Fire them all and replace them with people that can see and read.

  • cc

    But make sure you make the 96 year old cancer patient remove her diaper before boarding!!!!!!!! What the Hell is wrong with this counrty?????????

  • Wikidwesyde

    You shoud be strapped to a board and fired upon “EXECUTION STYLE” buy a group of Blacks, muslims, and Black muslims for leaving a comment like that. Stupid @$$ cracker, because only a cracker would say something like that

    • Right

      What was the color of the two punks from San Diego?

    • Right

      And only a moolie would say something like that.

    • Blueviolets

      Why must liberals always call people names? Does that make your opinion more valid? Of course if it was a Caucasian (that’s a cracker in case you didn’t know) you would be the first to want him drawn and quartered while you jumped about in unbridled glee.

  • Daniel

    This story proves the black TSA agents are allowing blacks through without the proper credentials. The TSA hires way too many coloreds.

    • gimmieabreak

      Coloreds? LOL! How old are you? 90? The only thing more pathetic than using that word is what you had to say.

  • Daniel

    I’m 26. “People of color,” “coloreds,” “coons,” “n-words,” etc…all the same thing.

    • gimmieabreak

      Prove your theory. Say that to a randomly selected black man.

      • Mike

        He already did and that’s how it is. Yeeeah!

  • Vernon Demerest

    Race is irrelevant. Ada Quonsett was a stowaway on Trans Global Airlines out of O’Hare on a flight to Rome and she was a white, elderly lady. Her deceased husband was a Geometry teacher.

  • CJ

    Am I the only one that realized that he was coming back to the US on September 9th, 2011?!!?! 9-11?

  • John

    It may be that this guy is part of a group and is practicing to see what they can get
    by with. Then after a few attempts to see where security is lacking, the problems begin.

    Just think if this guy would have had explosives when he was allowed on the plane-

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