Seven-Year-Old Runaway Gets Through Airport Security

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

This reporter barely got his red wagon around the corner when he ran away as a child. He was probably worried about missing a meal. Kids today appear to have much more initiative.

Case in point: a seven-year-old girl who ran away from her parents managed to take a train to Geneva airport and board a plane -- despite having no ticket.

The girl gave her parents the slip near Geneva’s central railway station on Sunday, then took the one-stop ride to the airport. Her parents phoned Swiss police, who tracked her progress through the airport on security videos, airport spokesman Bertrand Staempfli said. 

The girl went through the security gate and managed to pass herself off as the child of adults around her, before using her small stature to slip through the departure gate without being noticed and boarding a plane, the airport said in a statement. 

On her first attempt she followed a crew toward the plane and was turned back. She melted into the crowd and pretended to look for her parents. The second time, she managed to get onto a plane, was spotted by an official, stopped, and handed over to police. 

Staempfli declined to say which airline was involved or where it was flying to, but he said it was leaving from the airport’s French sector and the destination was in France. 

Geneva airport straddles the French-Swiss border and passengers can leave from France or Switzerland. 

The airport said in the statement it would tighten safety rules and boarding procedures as a result of what it called the “highly regrettable incident.” 

“This should never have happened,” Staempfli said.

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