9-year-old boy boards airplane without a ticket

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MINNEAPOLIS — A 9-year-old runaway went through security, boarded a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without a ticket and flew to Las Vegas, an airport spokesman said.

Security officials screened the Minneapolis boy at the airport shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday after he arrived via light rail, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said. The boy then boarded a Delta flight that left for Las Vegas at 11:15 a.m.

The flight was not full, Hogan said, and the flight crew became suspicious midflight because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. The crew contacted Las Vegas police, who met them upon landing and transferred the boy to child protection services, Hogan said.

"It's hard to piece anything together from his stories why he got on the flight and went to Las Vegas," Hogan said.

Delta Air Lines issued a statement Monday saying it's reviewing its policies and procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said officers talked to the family after Las Vegas police contacted them. A family member told police the boy ran away and was last seen earlier Thursday.

The boy had been at the airport on Wednesday as well, Hogan said. Video shows him grabbing a bag from the carousel and ordering lunch at a restaurant outside of the security checkpoints.

He ate and then told the server he had to use the bathroom. He left the bag and never returned to pay, Hogan said. Airport officials returned the bag to its owner.