Maybe Philadelphia Airport Security Isn’t So Tight

Man gets on a plane with the wrong ticket.

6ABC reports that American Airlines let the wrong man board a Philadelphia-based plane on Sunday. The unidentified passenger had Brad Gertz’s boarding pass—accidentally it seems—and shouldn’t have been allowed aboard when his ID didn’t match. He was. The result? When Gertz arrived for his flight, he was told he was already on the plane.

“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, as the airline later figured out it gave another passenger, with a different name, Gertz’s boarding pass.

But then, 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.

The TSA issued a statement to 6ABC: “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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  • Denise Rambo

    The TSA might not have been doing their job on Sunday, but on Saturday they were over-zealous. When they noticed something they thought looked suspicious in my son’s bag, they not only pulled his bag aside – they shut down the entire line and shifted everyone over to another. Instead of having the line agents look in his bag, they called in the “bag expert” to inspect his bag – who took 20 minutes to arrive and caused him to miss his flight. During the incident they were rude and treated him like a criminal. He repeatedly asked them what they were seeing so he could explain – and they refused to tell him anything. They asked him point blank if he was trying to smuggle explosives onto the plane and said that if he told them what he had in his bag, things would “go a lot easier for him”. Needless to say, they didn’t find anything remotely illegal in his luggage. The offending object that stirred up such a fuss? His over-the-ear headphones and the charger for his iPhone – which were in a specially-designed zippered case. They upset him so much that he was still a wreck during his layover 7 hours later.

  • Brad Gertz

    I am the real Brad Gertz. I’m still outraged. TSA hasn’t responded to me. American Airlines answer was a $300 voucher to keep me quiet. They have now lied to the Media altering the story. They had two chances to change the boarding pass. Someone else used their CC at the airport to change the flight. They weren’t properly ID’ed when charging the card. A stranger was able to use my boarding pass and get through many layers of TSA and onto a plane. I want answers and resolution!

    • Truly S.

      Brad, I don’t know if you’re following up on comments to this story, but I just found it online and I find it quite interesting. A similar incident to what happened to the person who got through security as “Brad Gertz” happened to me at the Philadephia Airport last month. In my case it was a USAirways ticket counter person, but as you may be aware, USAirways and American Airlines are in the process of a merger. Having been unable to obtain a boarding pass for my flight at a kiosk, I went to the ticket counter and received one from the counter agent, then headed up the escalator to stand in line at security. It’s a lucky thing I got the notion to check my boarding pass “just in case” before reaching the front of the line, because my boarding pass did not have my name on it! What’s more, I’m a woman, and it was made out in a man’s name! I headed back down to the ticket counter to demand the correct boarding pass. I was asked whether I was traveling with the gentleman named on the pass. I said “No, I never heard of him before in my life!” I was then told I wasn’t entitled to a boarding pass for the flight I was trying to board because according to the two boarding passes I had already obtained earlier for this leg of the trip, I had already used them both. I said no, I had not used the Philadelphia-to-Cleveland pass because, thanks to my DC-to-Philadelphia flight taking off extremely late, I had missed the flight to Cleveland and had to spend the night in the airport. (One would think this would be obvious; if I had indeed used the pass, would I still be in Philadelphia?) Finally, I was able to persuade the agent of the truth of what I was saying, got a new pass, and had to stand in the security line all over again, although thankfully the line was actually shorter at that point. I just don’t see how on earth the counter agent got it so utterly wrong. The man’s first name wasn’t even anything close to mine, either. Had I not noticed, though, for all I know, I might have unintentionally flown under his name and left him up the creek! Either that, or I might have gotten in serious trouble with TSA for attempting to impersonate someone I’ve never even met. Are there problems with this airline merger, or problems at the Philadelphia Airport, that need looking into? I wonder.