Woman Breaches Airport Security Unintentionally; Winds Up on Tarmac

I have been on the tarmac at the international airport in Atlanta many times — but never without being screened first. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.


Shannon Reynolds was simply attempting to park her car at a parking lot outside the international airport in Atlanta when she drove into the parking lot for employees of Delta Air Lines and was waved through two security checkpoints before parking her car. She then boarded a shuttle for employees of Delta Air Lines without being asked for identification.
Before Reynolds knew it, she was on the tarmac of the airport without having been screened by airport security.
Reynolds was eventually escorted into the airport passenger area. She was asked for her identification for the first time once she was in the terminal, directed by an airport employee to go through the airport security checkpoint before being allowed to continue to Costa Rica, which was her final destination. However, she missed her connecting flight in Fort Lauderdale due to a delay where she was transported back to her vehicle to move her car out of the parking lot for employees of Delta Air Lines.
The busiest airport in the world was not evacuated, nor was anyone forced to be re-screened — thank goodness. Meanwhile, employee identification at parking lots for employees will be more stringently enforced by Delta Air Lines.
I am quite familiar with the location of one major parking lot for employees of Delta Air Lines, which is located west of the airport amongst several off-site parking lots. There is no signage or indication at the front entrance which clearly identifies that the parking lot is strictly for employees of Delta Air Lines, although I have seen shuttle bus activity there many times transporting employees of Delta Air Lines between the parking lot and the airport.
Despite the lack of signage, Reynolds should have known better, as the other commercial parking lots clearly display signs the size of billboards — as well as rates — at their entrances. What prompted Reynolds to choose that particular parking lot for employees of Delta Air Lines with the other choices which were available along the same stretch of the main road leading into the airport?
Even after parking her car, the shuttle buses — which look like school buses and not like shuttle buses which you would typically find at commercial airport parking lots and rental car facilities — clearly sport the Delta Air Lines logo. Surely even after boarding the bus, she should have known that something was not right?!?
More importantly, why are employees of any airline allowed on the tarmac of the airport without having to endure even a cursory screening?

2 thoughts on “Woman Breaches Airport Security Unintentionally; Winds Up on Tarmac”

  1. DEN says:

    After working at the Denver Airport for a year, I learned just how lax airport security can really be. Although I was cleared for a airside SIDA Badge, I had a clear path, daily, airside (inside the sterile area) without a challenge, never seeing a TSA agent, cop or a HSS Guard. Over 30,000 people work at the Denver airport, well over 1/2 of those have airside clearance. It’s frightening, actually.
    You make it sound like it was HER fault she got airside. You’re probably just mad she got free parking and a bus ride.
    DEN

  2. thomwithanh says:

    Sounds like an honest mistake to me. Thankfully the TSA actually handled the situation well, just escorting her to be screened.

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