Stowing Away on a 8,000 Mile Flight: Not worth it.

I just had three stowaways on my flight this week.  They were only discovered once the plane finally ran out of seats.  But they at least did it the safe way.

Much like Helen Hayes endearing role in the movie Airport (not to be confused with the movie Airplane!)

But a man is in critical condition after stowing away in the wheel well of an airplane for 8,000 miles.

From the Review Journal:

A stowaway found Friday in the wheel well of a British Airways flight from Johannesburg remains hospitalized in critical condition after he survived 1o hours of freezing temperatures.

This case is being linked to a body found on the roof of a building in London.

Which leads me to wonder–are people aware of the risks of hiding in the wheel well and decide the risks are worth it to get where they are going, or is it a case of complete ignorance as to the temperatures and pressure levels once the flight reaches a cruising altitude?

Here is a list of all the stowaways from wheel wells.

The thing most of the recent ones have in common?  They died when doing it.

As for the stowaways on the flight, they left willingly after a while and were taken to the gate agent.  I don’t know what happened after that, but it’s possible they didn’t get in any trouble at all because they had tickets.  Just for that evening.  They just wanted to get there more quickly, so they self-stood by.

But going back to the wheel well stowaways–what do you think?  Ignorance about the risks, or knowledgeable with the hope that they will be the exceptions?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. This may be a dumb question but I’ve wondered for a long time – how exactly do so many people have access to airplane wheel wells?

    It seems like it would be really, REALLY hard to get there without being caught. So even if one or two slipped by, the laws of probabilities would say that I should be reading dozens of articles about the hundreds of people trying to get into wheel wells (but only a couple got through). Right?

    In today’s high-security airports how do so many people who are too…logic deficient to know getting in a wheel well is likely going to kill them so easily getting to these wheel wells in the first place? Just wondering, it makes no sense to me?

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