Russian Stowaway Causes Two Transavia Diversions

Russian Stowaway Causes Two Transavia Diversions

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Dutch low cost carrier Transavia had a pretty eventful day yesterday, after a stowaway passenger caused two diversions.

Transavia flight to Malaga diverts to Madrid

On Monday, October 3, 2022, a Russian woman managed to sneak onto a Transavia flight at Rotterdam Airport (RTM) without a ticket.

According to reports, the woman came up to the security checkpoint without a ticket, and then pressed an emergency button. Amid all the chaos, she managed to sneak through security, and then also managed to board the nearest flight without anyone (initially) catching on.

As it turned out, the flight she had boarded was Transavia flight HV5023, a Boeing 737-700 scheduled to operate to Malaga (AGP). The flight somehow departed before authorities figured out she had boarded this flight, and it even took off.

At some point during the flight, the crew was made aware that the woman who breached the security checkpoint was likely on this flight, so the plane diverted to Madrid (MAD). That flight took just over two hours.

Transavia’s diversion to Madrid

Once in Madrid, Spanish authorities questioned the woman, and also inspected the plane to make sure there were no items onboard that hadn’t been screened. This is also the point at which passengers were made aware of the situation.

The plane ended up spending roughly 3.5 hours on the ground in Madrid, before operating the 49-minute flight to Malaga. Passengers ended up arriving at their destination around four hours late.

Transavia’s Madrid to Malaga flight

Transavia flight to Faro diverts to Bordeaux

The Transavia flight from Rotterdam to Malaga wasn’t the only one that diverted. Initially authorities didn’t know which flight the woman had boarded, and it was also believed she might be on Transavia flight HV6093 to Faro (FAO).

The pilots were told that a stowaway might be on this flight, so they made the decision to divert to Bordeaux. Apparently quite far into the descent it was determined that the woman wasn’t actually on this flight, but the decision was made to divert anyway. As a Transavia spokesperson describes this:

“We initially received information from the Marechaussee that there would be a passenger on that flight who did not belong there. That is why that plane was preparing for a stopover in Bordeaux. When it turned out that it was another flight, that landing had already progressed so far that it was eventually made. But now the plane has landed in Faro.”

Transavia’s diversion to Bordeaux

This flight only ended up spending around an hour on the ground in Bordeaux, before continuing on the 90-minute flight to Faro. It arrived at its destination around 80 minutes late.

Transavia’s Bordeaux to Faro flight

What a mess of a situation

For all the effort allegedly put into security and making sure the right people board the right planes, it sure seems like a lot went wrong here:

  • Someone managed to get through security and board a plane by pressing an emergency button, without being noticed?!
  • You’d think flights would stay on the ground after such a security breach until it can be investigated, but in this case the flight with the stowaway took off
  • It was then a long time after takeoff before it was discovered this stowaway was on board — what was the point of even diverting when the plane was only marginally further from its intended destination?
  • Then another Transavia flight diverted as well, because authorities weren’t even initially sure which flight this stowaway was on

I’m not suggesting there’s a single party at fault here, but this seems like a pretty huge and disorganized mess to me.

Bottom line

A woman managed to sneak on a Transavia flight yesterday after pressing the emergency button at Rotterdam Airport. This caused two separate diversions, with one being the actual flight the traveler was on. While the stowaway ultimately didn’t get away with it, it’s still kind of unbelievable how easily she managed to sneak onto a flight.

What do you make of this incident at Rotterdam Airport?

(Tip of the hat to @WilliamvdHoorn)

Conversations (13)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    Seems there was an empty seat on the flight for her to sit in.
    Kind of ironic that she knew where to sit I mean where nobody was assigned a seat.
    Also what happened at the gate and when getting on the plane. Most airports check the boarding card at security, to board the plane, and may be even another couple of times before you are seated so how this could happen today is amazing.

  2. Lieflat19 Member

    very surprised the flights went out. in the US they would have taken everyone outside security, swept aircraft and swept the sterile area. they are pretty lucky it was "just some woman".... Could have been a different story.

  3. Jesse Guest

    What relevance does the woman's nationality have to the story? Or was it simply you sensationalizing the headline and capitalizing on the hatred that's being directed even towards ordinary Russians? It's just a bad look.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Racist clickbait!!

      It would have been relevant if said stowaway snuck into a flight heading to Moscow (the irony).

  4. uldguy Diamond

    Nice to see that Ada Quansett (beautifully portrayed by the late, great, Helen Hayes in the original Airport movie) is still playing her stowaway game.

    As for Transavia, did they not verify the number of passengers onboard prior to departing the gate?

  5. Sean M. Diamond

    A nice lucrative EU261/2004 payout for the other passengers on the flight! Ka-ching!

    1. HkCaGu Guest

      I'm very sure the airlines won't be responsible for this one.

    2. Ben Holz Guest

      Would be interested to see how that would develop. At the end of the day it is the airlines responsibility to make sure who enters their planes (and who doesn't). They should be made liable for not having a strict enough boarding control, regardless of what happened in the security control.

    3. Klaus Guest

      If you want to make money with EU261, just use your mileageplus miles tk book a flight with Eurowings this Thursday.
      Pilots will be on strike so chances are high your flight will be cancelled.
      And if not: mileageplus awards can be changed/cancelled free of charge due to Corona.

  6. Ben H. Guest

    Why did she even bother with it? It's not like there are any passport controls for travel within both countries if going by road, should the status of her EU visa have been the reason behind trying to sneak into the plane. Surely she had more to loose doing something like this than travelling by land...

    1. Icarus Guest

      I believe Russians escaping from the oppressive regime. Not sure why she didn’t claim asylum in the Netherlands, although we don’t know the specifics of her circumstances.

  7. Klaus Guest

    In 2018 on the first day of summer break, a 40-year old woman accidentally entered Munich airport without being properly screened*. Terminal 2 was closed for 5 hours and everybody had to leave. It took 7 hours until the first plane took off after the closure, some 200-260 flights were cancelled.
    Anyway, long story short: The 40-year old woman did not even know that she caused the closure of the terminal. She took off...

    In 2018 on the first day of summer break, a 40-year old woman accidentally entered Munich airport without being properly screened*. Terminal 2 was closed for 5 hours and everybody had to leave. It took 7 hours until the first plane took off after the closure, some 200-260 flights were cancelled.
    Anyway, long story short: The 40-year old woman did not even know that she caused the closure of the terminal. She took off with one of the last planes before the Terminal was closed ;)

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uldguy Diamond

Nice to see that Ada Quansett (beautifully portrayed by the late, great, Helen Hayes in the original Airport movie) is still playing her stowaway game. As for Transavia, did they not verify the number of passengers onboard prior to departing the gate?

1
HkCaGu Guest

I'm very sure the airlines won't be responsible for this one.

1
Sean M. Diamond

A nice lucrative EU261/2004 payout for the other passengers on the flight! Ka-ching!

1
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