Texas Man Accused of Photographing Boarding Passes to Sneak on Flights

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Mar 30, 2024

Wicliff Fleurizard, a 26-year-old from George, Texas, found himself in a peculiar predicament after a snowboarding trip in Park City, Utah. In a desperate attempt to return home, Fleurizard embarked on an unconventional airport adventure at the Salt Lake International Airport.

His story begins with an innocent snowboarding excursion but quickly veers into an unexpected airport escapade, illustrating a unique blend of ingenuity and desperation.

A Family Reunion Rush

After gliding down the snowy slopes of Utah in March 2024, Fleurizard felt the urgency to reunite with his family (via KTLA). With relatives flying in from Florida and time running thin, the pressure was on.

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A Southwest Airlines jet, painted in blue with red and yellow accents on the tail, is captured in mid-air against a clear blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

But what should have been a straightforward journey home turned into a frantic race against time, showcasing the lengths to which some will go to avoid missing important family gatherings.

The Buddy Pass Strategy

Fleurizard’s initial plan involved leveraging a “buddy pass” from a friend, a perk commonly used by airline employees to allow friends and family to fly at discounted rates (via Southwest). He successfully used this pass to get through security at Salt Lake International Airport.

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Colorful parked passenger planes at an airport on the tarmac, with carts and cars around them

Source: Karl Magnuson/Unsplash

However, the ease with which Fleurizard navigated through security with a buddy pass raises questions about airport security measures and procedures.

A Change in Course

Upon realizing that the Southwest flight was fully booked, Fleurizard didn’t retreat. Instead, he redirected his focus toward Delta Air Lines, demonstrating his adaptability and resolve.

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A Delta Airlines plane is seen on the tarmac from inside an airport, with empty seats all around.

Source: Hanson Lu/Unsplash

This decision marked the beginning of a more deceptive phase of his journey, highlighting the unpredictability and resourcefulness of passengers in the face of travel dilemmas.

The Boarding Pass Scheme

In a bold move, Fleurizard was caught on security footage using his phone to take pictures of other passengers’ boarding passes. This cunning strategy allowed him to create a digital copy, bypassing traditional boarding procedures.

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Passengers check in for American Airlines flight 718 at Miami International Airport

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This act not only showcases his desperation to get home but also exposes a significant vulnerability in the airline boarding process.

Raising Suspicion

Once aboard the Delta flight, Fleurizard’s behavior did not go unnoticed. His excessive time spent in the airplane’s restrooms raised eyebrows, indicating that something was amiss.

A grounded United Airlines plane being pulled on the tarmac by a Goldhofer pushback tractor.

Source: Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons

The unusual behavior prompted the crew to question his presence, leading to the unraveling of his improvised travel plans.

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The Discovery and Delay

The discovery that Fleurizard boarded the plane without a legitimate ticket led to the aircraft returning to the gate.

Planes from different airlines lined up outside an airport.

Source: Chuttersnap/Unsplash

The immediate action taken by Delta Air Lines was to ensure passenger safety and adherence to federal regulations.

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Admitting Fault

Confronted by law enforcement, Fleurizard reportedly admitted he “had made a mistake,” acknowledging his ill-conceived attempt to bypass standard flight procedures.

View of airport tarmac and plane wing, with a plane in the distance, from a passenger’s view inside a plane.

Source: Haley Phelps/Unsplash

Although he confessed to the misguided attempt to reunite with his family, he is still in significant hot water.

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Facing the Consequences

Fleurizard now faces federal charges for stowing away on an aircraft, a serious offense that highlights the legal boundaries established to protect passengers and ensure the integrity of air travel.

Wooden gavel pictured at an auction house as it slams down

Source: Freepik

The incident is a reminder of the repercussions associated with violating airport and airline regulations.

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Airline and Airport Respond

In response to the incident, both Delta Air Lines and Salt Lake International Airport have expressed their cooperation with law enforcement investigations.

Though many analysts say that air travel still remains incredibly safe, Boeing’s ongoing problems have worried many. Now, many travelers may make a concerted effort to avoid Boeing 737 jets as much as possible.

Source: Adam Moreira (AEMoreira042281)/Wikimedia Commons

Delta’s commitment to working with federal agencies emphasizes the airline’s dedication to security and its role in maintaining a safe travel environment.

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A Not-So-Unique Incident

Remarkably, this event marks the second instance this year where an individual managed to board a plane without a ticket, according to ABC 7.

A suitcase that has been left at an airport. Passengers are waiting to board the flights in the background, either sitting on seats or walking around.

Source: Michal Parzuchowski/Unsplash

The previous occurrence at Nashville International Airport underlines the ongoing challenges faced by airport security measures and the need for continuous improvement and vigilance.

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Learning and Adapting

The incident involving Fleurizard prompts a reevaluation of airport security protocols and boarding procedures.

A lot of people walk to the check-in area of an airport.

Source: Phil Mosley/Unsplash

It serves as a call to action for both airlines and airports to evaluate and secure their systems against such breaches, ensuring the safety and trust of passengers worldwide.

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