On December 31, a passenger waiting for an American Airlines flight at Dallas – Fort Worth’s gate E22A walked behind the counter, and starts typing on the computer – and taking photos. When confronted over this, he initially claimed to be “Homeland Security.” The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t just walk up to computers and start typing. He was asked for ID, and changed his story.
The man claimed not to have been taking pictures. Most everything in an airport is on camera. He deleted the photos from his phone in order to show he hadn’t taken any, though it’s not clear why taking photos in a public area would violate any law (though taking photos in an American Airlines gate area arguably violates the airline’s policies).
More airline employees showed up. He was asked whether he had any friends in the industry, though this doesn’t seem relevant. He “just starts saying other random airline names.”
Police were called. The passenger explains he was just “curious because they didn’t have the flight information up.” And the man says he shouldn’t have done it.
The officer’s explanation though for why this is problematic, and why it’s a police matter, is weird?
Yes, it’s government related, but it is also a business. Ameican AIrlines is a business, so they do have FAA and government relations.
It turns out the passenger was “wasted” and he was taken into customer “to sober up.”
@jacquelynlankfordtrumpet My New Year’s Eve at the @DFW Airport. A huge thanks to the @American Airlines employees and the officer involved for not letting this guy on our flight. PS – American, you should give them all a raise for how well they handled this! #americanairlines #dfwairport #happynewyear #2023 #police ♬ original sound – Jacquelyn Lankford
Unauthorized access to a computer has potential legal consequences, though in recent years courts have been limiting overly expansive interpretations of what this means. It’s not clear that the passenger actually accessed anything, versus standing at the terminal and getting nowhere. In the end the problem was, it seems, that he was drunk.