"Stowaway" flies from Denmark to LAX in plain sight (but no ticket)

Originally published at: "Stowaway" flew to LAX in plain sight

Jedi mind tricks. It’s the only logical explanation.


Jedi or Jet-eye?


I mean, maybe in 1970?



Also known as, “just act like you belong where you are, and almost no one will question you…”


Fake it 'till you make it?


What? At CPH? I’m green with envy.

I still remember, I was in transit from Rome to Stockholm, but due to the pandemic, I had to go out and then back in through security (to increase the chance of contagion? Who knows!).

I still had my old style, paper, Italian ID card (valid for travel in all of EU + Turkey + Kazakhstan(!) and a lot of other countries), a bit battered, but still good.
To boost, my (SE) address was handwritten instead of printed, as the address did not fit (also, it included a number of non printable - in Italy - ö/ä/å).

The border official at the document check took the ID with two fingers and a disgusted expression, looked at me, checked the picture, looked at me again, checked the terminal, looked at me again.

Shook her head, then opened a drawer, took out a jeweler’s loupe, and started examining the ID square cm by square cm.

I was not in a hurry, so I did not press on.

A couple of border officials arrived behind her, while the queue behind me was growing.
One of them looked at me, pointed his finger at his colleague, still checking my ID, then at his temple, with slow circular motions.

I decided I could not make other people wait too long and extracted my passport from the backpack. I handed it to her.

As I never use it, it was in mint condition.
The picture, however, while definitely me, was a bit over-exposed.
She started the ceremony again!

At that point I began to worry.
Finally, the other border official told her that I should go with him, for further checks.
He took my IDs, brought me out of the queue and simply handed them to me and let me go.


I wonder how often that happens. I can imagine that at the boarding gate, if you slipped through at the just right time, and had some luck, you could get on a plane without a ticket. But getting past customs? They seem to all use turnstile things these days.

Betty White GIF by TV Land Classic


How on earth?

  1. You have to show a passport at check-in.
  2. You often have to have your boarding pass scanned to enter security screening.
  3. Depending on the country, there may be another passport check to exit the country and enter the airside of the airport.
  4. There is then another passport and boarding pass check at the gate.

If someone was able to get on to a plane without any of these checks then the Danes have a serious problem.


It always works for the Doctor!

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Ochigava: “I have not been sleeping for three days and do not understand what is going on. I might have had a plane ticket to come to the United States, but I’m not sure, and I do not remember how I went through security without a ticket. It’s all a fog.”

Security: "That’s okay. We’ll get you out on the next flight, but we’ll drop you off over the Atlantic Ocean.

Ochigava: “My fog has suddenly lifted.”


When asked how he got through security in Copenhagen, Ochigava claimed he did not remember how he went through security without a ticket

If only security checkpoints had cameras to record who goes through.


I love stories of customs officials being human.

My favourite was when I lived in NZ. I was arriving at Auckland Int’l and was in that zone between passport control and luggage collection / inspection. A young couple (early 20s) were there, fresh back from extended travel in South East Asia (the baggy pants, dreadlocks, and a few other fashion clues gave it away). They were waiting for their main luggage when a sniffer dog went directly to one of their backpacks.

Sniffer dogs in NZ are lovely cute beagles, and are mostly there to detect fresh produce. Example: NZ doesn’t have fruit flies, so apple orchards never have to spray for them. They can charge a premium for that. It adds up, and losing it would be devastating.

The couple, and the dog-handler were friendly and chatty. They had emptied their backpack, and it was clear there was no food in it.

“I don’t know why he’s interested in that bag - that’s not even the bag we kept food in.”

The dog handler got a thoughtful look on her face. “Hypothetically - might there have been joints in that bag? Not yours, of course. But maybe the bag’s former owner, or something?”

The look on their face said the answer was a solid and nervous “yes”, but they didn’t say a word.

The dog handler gently continued. “Well, if you happen to remember any non-hypothetical joints, please make sure you dump them in the amnesty bin over there, before you get to baggage inspection. Have a nice day.”


I had the opposite experience when arriving in Keflavîk to do some filming for a documentary about ten years ago. The cameraman had brought all his equipment in one of those bombproof metal suitcases which had gone in the checked luggage as it was so big.

Eventually it comes off the carousel and we load it on to the luggage trolley when the biggest security guy I’ve ever seen (he looked like he had just stepped off the longship) came over with his German shepherd who was VERY interested in the camera case.

‘Excuse me, do either of you have any drugs?’ he asked. We shook our heads (we had no drugs).

‘Are you sure you don’t have any drugs?’ Nope.

‘You see, my dog is really keen on that case. Do you want to open it?’ So we did and he checked it over. Remember, this is Iceland - one of the most relaxed border controls in the World, no one ever gets pulled over. We might be about to set a new record. By now I am sweating like crazy thinking we’re on the next plane home, or in for an interesting evening in police custody.

Jim the cameraman then did his Jedi mind trick, ‘maybe your dog is tired?’ he suggested

Erik the Viking nods, ‘Já, it’s been a long day. Okay guys, have a good stay.’ He drifts off with the dog.

I look at Jim. He looks at me. ‘I should have cleaned the case better after I filmed at that pharmaceutical cannabis farm last week…’

He bought the first round of drinks that evening.


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