A Tokyo-bound flight from Los Angeles that turned back to widespread attention on social media was carrying two brothers, one of whom was not authorized to be on board, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday.
The unauthorized passenger had a boarding pass for a United Airlines flight, but boarded the All Nippon Airlines flight with his brother, who had the correct ticket for the flight, said Mike England, a TSA spokesman.
Both were aboard Tokyo-bound All Nippon Airlines Flight 175 when it departed Los Angeles International Airport about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. About four hours after it departed, it turned around and headed back to Los Angeles, where it landed about 7:30 p.m.
Model Chrissy Teigen, who was on the rerouted flight, kept her Twitter followers entranced for hours after she recounted the incident in a series of tweets starting before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“(A) flying first for me: 4 hours into an 11 hour flight and we are turning around because we have a passenger who isn’t supposed to be on this plane. Why … why do we all gotta go back, I do not know,” she tweeted.
“At the time during the flight, the pilot in command was presented with information about the discrepancy in the passenger manifest. Based on the available information in flight, he made the correct decision to return to LAX,” the airline said in a statement. “ANA supports the decision of the pilot, out of the abundance of caution and safety for the passengers and crew onboard.”
The unauthorized passenger had moved through security checkpoints with his sibling and gone through the TSA’s 20 layers of security — both seen and unseen — before they made it to the terminal, a government official said.
It was up to the airline’s employees to ensure the passengers had the proper boarding passes for the flight, authorities said.
Once the flight returned in Los Angeles and passengers exited the aircraft, the FBI interviewed the brothers and several other passengers, the government official said.
No arrests have been made, according to the FBI.
By early Wednesday morning, Teigen and her fellow passengers were back on board and headed for Tokyo.
There were 208 passengers on the flight’s manifest, a spokesman for the airline said Wednesday.
Teigen was on the flight with her husband, John Legend.
Teigen and her fellow passengers boarded a second flight for Tokyo early Wednesday. The flight departed after 12:30 a.m. and was expected to arrive in Japan less than 12 hours later.
(Los Angeles Times staff writer Frank Shyong contributed to this report.)
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