Airline Faces Fine after Ticketless Man Boarded

American Airlines could be fined up to $25,000 after a man who was apparently trying to get a free flight managed to get aboard a plane without a ticket or a boarding pass, authorities say.

Danis Ballard, 29, of Irvington, was removed from the flight before takeoff after the crew took a head count. Authorities determined he was not a security threat, and he was charged with criminal trespass.

Ballard boarded the Miami-bound flight Saturday with only a printed flight itinerary, said Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for American, said the airline is investigating how Ballard got by its personnel. But he said TSA - the federal agency created after the Sept. 11 attacks - should have caught the error at its security checkpoint.

Davis said that Ballard had asked a ticket agent about buying a same-day ticket. The agent printed an itinerary, but Ballard decided the flight was too expensive.

Ballard used that itinerary, which was printed on paper stock similar to what is used for boarding passes, to get past security, Davis said.

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