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Airline Passenger Says Stranger Was Allowed To Use His Boarding Pass To Fly

(CBS) -- A Chicago man is outraged about airport security after a disturbing incident that occurred this week while he was trying to fly home.

Brad Gertz says he was trying to catch an American Airlines flight out of Philadelphia. But when he tried to check in, he was informed someone else had been given his boarding pass and took an earlier flight.

Gertz was about to fly American's skies, when he was told he had already left.

"I showed him my ID and said, 'I'm Brad Gertz, what's going on?'" Gertz tells CBS 2's Brad Edwards. "I can tell you, I lost all color in my face, I was nervous and furious. I would say at least five times, they're telling me, I'm not me."

They gave his boarding pass to someone else, he says.

That someone else got through security.

"God forbid this guy did something stupid. My name, my identity is attached," Gertz says.

American Airlines says a man was mistakenly given Gertz's ticket and made it past the TSA checkpoint but was stopped before boarding. A spokesperson explained in a statement:

"A boarding pass with Mr. Gertz's name on it was inadvertently given to another passenger yesterday when they arrived at PHL to check in for their flight. One of our employees realized the error after it happened and gave the other passenger the correct boarding pass. Because of this mistake, it appeared that Mr. Gertz was already checked in for and set to take an earlier flight. Mr. Gertz's itinerary was not updated to reflect the mistake until he arrived at the airport later that morning to check in for his originally scheduled flight. We have spoken to Mr. Gertz to apologize for the confusion and offer him a travel voucher as a gesture of goodwill."

That reply didn't satisfy Gertz. "So they say, 'It was our fault, we did give someone your boarding pass so we let them through.' This person, whoever this was, that got through under my identity that easy and made it to the gate? Who says anyone else can't?"

Aviation expert Joe Schwieterman says the incident shows a breakdown of the system.

"Multiple failures had to occur for this passenger to get through with the wrong ID and when you let people through when they're not matching names, the whole essence of the system fails."

CBS 2 reached out to the TSA, which did not call back.

The airline says they smoothed it out with Gertz. He says they offered him a $300 voucher. The flight he was on typically costs $600, he says.

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