Man boarded a Delta flight at SLC Airport using a ticket ruse, U.S. says

The man allegedly took photos of passengers’ boarding passes while they weren’t looking.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) Delta Air Lines planes are shown at their gates Monday, June 13, 2022, at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. A Texas man was arrested in Salt Lake City on Sunday, March 17, 2024, after he boarded a Delta Air Lines flight without a ticket by using a photo he had taken of another passenger’s boarding pass, according to court documents.

A Texas man was arrested in Salt Lake City on Sunday after he boarded a Delta Air Lines flight without a ticket by using a photo he had taken of another passenger’s boarding pass while they were not looking, according to court documents.

The man, Wicliff Yves Fleurizard, 26, faces one felony count of stowaways on vessels or aircraft, according to a complaint filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Utah. He was being held at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.

After boarding a Delta flight bound for Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Fleurizard went to the lavatory at the front of the plane, and stayed in there until the flight had completely boarded and the doors were secured, according to the federal complaint.

Fleurizard then made his way toward the back of the plane, and he went into a lavatory there, according to court records. When he came out, a flight attendant noticed that there were no open seats just as the plane was about to taxi to the runway, court records show.

The flight attendant asked Fleurizard where his seat was, and he said it was 21F, which was already taken, the complaint states. After flight attendants couldn’t find Fleurizard on their manifest, they realized he wasn’t authorized to be on the flight, and the plane returned to the gate, according to the complaint.

Fleurizard told the police that he had been on a snowboarding trip in Park City, Utah, and that he needed to go home to see his family, according to the complaint. He said that he had been given a Southwest Airlines “buddy pass” by a friend, the complaint said.

Fleurizard told the police that he had tried to get on a 3 p.m. Southwest flight on Saturday, but that the flight was full, according to court documents. He then tried to fly home on a 6 a.m. Southwest flight on Sunday, he said, but that flight was also full, according to court documents.

The Transportation Security Administration said on Wednesday that Fleurizard had been screened by security at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Sunday without any issues, using a photo ID and boarding pass.

Surveillance footage from Sunday showed that Fleurizard was taking photos of the phones of several passengers in a Delta Air Lines boarding area while they weren’t looking, according to the complaint. The footage then showed Fleurizard using his phone to board the Delta flight.

Fleurizard “admitted he had made a mistake and was only trying get home,” the complaint said.

The FBI said on Wednesday that it was investigating the episode, but declined to provide any additional details.

No lawyer for Fleurizard had been listed in court records as of Wednesday afternoon.

Delta Air Lines said in a statement that it was “cooperating with law enforcement and relevant federal agencies regarding an investigation into a nonticketed individual” on Sunday.

In the past few months, there have been a number of similar instances in which passengers have been able to board flights without a ticket in the United States and overseas.

In February, a woman boarded a flight in Nashville, Tennessee, and flew to Los Angeles without a ticket. In November, a man made it through security at the Copenhagen Airport in Denmark and flew to Los Angeles International Airport with only Russian and Israeli identification cards in his bag.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.