How an 8-Year-Old Got On the No-Fly List

Misidentification has earned Mikey Hicks repeated pat-downs

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2010 9:48 AM CST

(Newser) – On its website, the TSA specifically denies that there is an 8-year-old on any of its watch lists. But try telling that to Mikey Hicks, who has had problems getting on airplanes his entire life. As a baby, Hicks was denied a seat on a plane because, officials told his mother, his name “was on the list.” He started getting full pat-downs when he was 2, his mom tells the New York Times.

Evidently some other Michael Hicks at some point made Homeland Security suspicious, and now Mikey’s paying the piper. It’s a common problem. Over the past three years, 81,793 travelers have asked to have their names taken off the watch list. Even the late Ted Kennedy once found himself on the list. Some travelers have purposely misspelled their names, or even legally changed them, to get around the problem.

Passengers wait in a security line at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
TSA officer Robert Howard signals an airline passenger forward at a security check-point at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, in SeaTac, Wash.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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We can’t just throw a bunch of names on these lists and call it security. If we can’t get an 8-year-old off the list, the whole list becomes suspect. - William Pascrell Jr., Democratic Rep. from New Jersey

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