Man boards flight without valid passport, ID

June 30, 2011 2:14:31 PM PDT
The TSA is once again on the hot seat after a passenger was able to fly cross-country from New York to Los Angeles without a valid passport.

Officials say Olajide Noibe was also carrying an expired boarding pass.

When they finally took Noibe into custody, he told authorities he planned to fly back to his native Nigeria next month, only to return to the US on September 9, just two days before the 10 year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

In a post-9/11 world, one would think it would be impossible to board a plane with an expired boarding pass and an invalid passport, but it's not.

Noibe did it at Kennedy Airport, making it all the way to LA without a valid passport and an expired boarding pass that wasn't even in his name.

Investigators say Noibe boarded Virgin America Flight 415 at JFK last Friday. It wasn't until the flight was airborne that the crew realized an extra passenger was on board.

The flight continued on to LA, where the man got off the plane and apparently spent several days in the area. On Wednesday, he returned to LAX and tried to get on a Delta flight bound for Atlanta, again trying to use an expired boarding pass and without valid identification. But this time, Delta would not let him on, and the FBI was alerted.

According to ABC7 in Chicago, Noibi is a 24-year old Nigerian national, also known as Seun Noibi, and a self-proclaimed "storyteller, strategist and designer who is passionate about reaching the world for Jesus" according to one of the numerous corporate websites and social media pages that list his affiliations.

Noibi claims to have an office on Chicago's southwest side.

Noibi, who informed U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents that he was a 2008 graduate of University of Michigan, claims to be a frequent air traveler according to scattered comments that have been posted under his various identities. Many of them list his affiliation with the university.

"3 days, 3 cities, Chicago, Detroit and NOw i can spy with my little eye New york city from this Sheraton at Liberty Int' l Airport in NJ!" was the verbatim of one such social network posting this month. "When i told God to use me i didn't know he'll take me serious. Here I am. Use more of me. Meetings right into my birthday on sunday and then back in las gidi?for the Diko and Friends in Concert and Album Launch. It can only be God."

Noibi is the purported founder of the "Unleash Abel Institute," said to be located at 1245 S. California in Chicago. Since last October the organization claims to have been "introducing students(8-12th graders & college bound) to professional careers in business, technology , and the sciences."

He also turns up as principal executive of Unleash Media Inc and Unleash 9JA, "a movement of independent thinkers, artist, musicians and filmmakers propagating the african experience" according to one website.

He had a stolen boarding pass and ID card, according to the FBI, when he was arrested Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport. In addition to the stolen ID, authorities say Noibi had up to 10 old boarding passes containing various names.

He was arrested after attempting to board a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta; five days after passing through layers of airport security at New York's JFK airport to board a plane with a day-old boarding pass. It is unclear why he wasn't arrested then.

In the Saturday incident, authorities say Noibi boarded Virgin America flight 415 at JFK bound for LAX.

He was found on the plane after it had taken off and was in flight, in a seat in the aircraft's "main cabin select" area. When asked for his boarding pass, Noibi produced a boarding pass and ticket for a Friday flight that was not in, stated an FBI agent.

According to ABC News, on that pass was the name of a man with the initials M.D. After tracking down and interviewing him, the FBI learned that M.D. had lost his home-printed boarding pass from his back pocket, which had been folded into fourths, once he arrived at JFK via subway Friday. Once he discovered it missing, he obtained a new boarding pass from a ticket kiosk and boarded flight 413.

On flight 415 Saturday -- the day after M.D.'s flight had already taken off -- a similarly folded home-printed boarding pass with M.D.'s name on it was found on Noibi.

It is unclear how Noibi managed to get through security at both airports, and whether he left the L.A. airport once flight 415 landed last week and when he attempted to board Delta Airlines flight 46 to Atlanta Wednesday, although he claims to have cleared security.

"Noibi ? said that he spent the night of June 28, 2011 at LAX Gate 51B, which I know is in the secure portion of the airport," FBI agent Kevin Hogg said in the affidavit. "Noibi claimed he was able to go through passenger screening by obtaining a seat pass and displaying his University of Michigan identification and a police report that his passport had been stolen."

Hogg said that when Noini's bags were searched agents found more than 10 boarding passes in various individual's names.

The Transportation Security Administration said it "cannot comment on the specifics of the case given the ongoing FBI investigation."

TSA officials maintain that "Every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening at the checkpoint. TSA's review of this matter indicates that the passenger went through screening.

"It is important to note that this passenger was subject to the same physical screening at the checkpoint as other passengers."

Information from ABC News, WLS-TV and The Associated Press.