HOW Did An SAS Passenger Fly To LAX With NO Ticket?!

By Spyros Georgilidakis | December 17, 2023

The authorities in the United States and Denmark are investigating a passenger who boarded an SAS flight with no ticket or other key papers!

This strange event happened on the 5th of November this year. It came to light more recently, thanks to paperwork that the FBI filed, while investigating it. The man at the center of this mystery appears to be called Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava. He is 46 years old.

Photo: Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0

Initially, Ochigava appeared to be a passenger on an SAS (Scandinavian Air System) flight. He had arrived at LAX in Los Angeles, after departing from Copenhagen in Denmark. However, he didn’t present a passport to customs officials.

A Demanding SAS Passenger?

When the authorities in Los Angeles asked him if he had a ticket, Ochigava said that he must have dropped it in the aircraft. The FBI interviewed the SAS cabin crew, who remembered that this passenger was moving between seats during the flight.

HOW Did An SAS Passenger Fly To LAX With NO Ticket?!
A Scandinavian Airlines A330 at LAX. Photo: Beckett P

The SAS cabin crew said that this individual was in seat 36D at the beginning of the flight. This seat should have been empty. More interestingly, Ochigava didn’t keep a particularly low profile during the flight.

Other than changing seats several times, he attempted to eat chocolate belonging to cabin crew members! The mystery passenger also asked the SAS cabin crew for two meals during each meal service.

Photo: Tomás Del Coro, CC BY-SA 2.0

Searching the aircraft’s cabin didn’t uncover any tickets – or passports. Also, there are normally records of all overseas passengers arriving in the United States. But there was no record of a passenger called Ochigava arriving at LAX on that day, or for several days before and after, on SAS or any other airline.

A Mystery On Many Levels

The authorities found out this person’s name after searching his belongings. They found a Russian identification card, that is only appropriate for travel within Russia. This isn’t a passport. Ochigava also had an Israeli ID card.

HOW Did An SAS Passenger Fly To LAX With NO Ticket?!
Copenhagen Airport. Photo: 66 north

There is CCTV footage of Ochigava wandering around Copenhagen airport before the flight. However, the authorities in Denmark haven’t explained how this passenger was able to board an SAS flight without a ticket or a passport. They are cooperating with authorities in both the U.S. and Denmark, who are investigating the case.

Going further, it’s also unclear how or why Ochigava got to Copenhagen in the first place. Ochigava said he couldn’t remember how he got on the aircraft, and “did not understand what was going on”. He briefly let security personnel look through photographs in his phone, before turning it off.

Photo: Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0

It is clear that there are currently more questions than answers around this case. A court in Los Angeles has indicted the mystery passenger of being an aircraft stowaway – which seems to “undersell” his actions. His trial should begin on the 26th of December. If convicted, he could spend 5 years in prison.



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