Ticketless stowaway bypasses security and boards plane at Zurich Airport

Ticketless stowaway bypasses security and boards plane at Zurich Airport

Contrary to the impression provided by films like Love Actually, attempting to run past security, passport control and through to the gate to have one last conversation and fleeting goodbye with a loved one would likely be met with a taser, not a round of applause. Nevertheless, 20 Minuten has reported that one man in Zurich managed to get as far as sitting in the plane before staff realised he didn’t actually have a ticket.

Man bypasses all security measures at Zurich Airport

The man, from Greece, wanted to travel from the Swiss city to Athens but didn’t have a valid ticket. Instead, much to the amazement of the police, he managed to get past two lines of security and through the gate before being discovered.

According to the police report, given to 20 Minuten, the man successfully went through the first electronic barrier at the airport by quickly rushing through after an unwary passenger had scanned their ticket and passed through. A quick security check later and he was in the passenger-only part of the terminal.

Stowaway somehow manages to board the flight

Then, once duty-free was perused and the “Go to Gate” sign was illuminated for his flight to Athens, the man made his way to the plane, where his lack of ticket should have been discovered. However, despite not having a shred of evidence that he was actually supposed to be on the flight, he somehow managed to get past the check-in desk and onto the plane.

How this was done was not revealed by the emergency services, according to 20 Minuten. However, despite getting so far, the man's trickery was soon revealed, either by him sitting in an already allocated seat or by a passenger headcount by the cabin crew. 

Flight leaves Zurich two hours late after security scare

Needless to say, the man’s miraculous effort to get on the plane came as a shock to passengers and staff. The flight had to take off two hours late as all passengers had to identify their hand luggage for security reasons, while the plane was searched thoroughly by police. The plane would go on to land in Athens without incident, or the stowaway passenger.

The man's escapades earnt him a 2.700 franc fine for trespassing and disrupting a public business - to be paid if he ever gets in trouble again in the next two years - along with an immediate 700 franc fine and 800 franc bill for legal services.  While the man’s successful effort to get on the plane might worry some, Bettina Kunz, spokesperson for Zurich Airport, told 20 Mintuen that "we are not aware of any case to date in which someone has flown out of Zurich without a valid ticket."

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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