Charles McKinley, 25, said he wanted to see his family but was unable to afford a plane ticket. So he packed himself in a wooden crate Friday afternoon and was loaded into a cargo plane with the help of a friend.
The box was unloaded on Saturday in Dallas, Texas. McKinley was discovered by a delivery service employee and reported to police before the box was taken to his parents home.
The trip from New York City took about 15 hours. Though McKinley was not charged in connection with shipping himself, he was taken into custody on unrelated charges.
Some media reported that it would have been cheaper for McKinley to board a plane in the conventional way than shipping himself in the 160kg crate.
“Anyone can climb into a box that’s properly packaged, as was demonstrated by this fool,” said Captain Phillip Beall of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, a group that supports arming pilots.
“But a fuel-laden 767 full of boxes can be commandeered and used in exactly the same way as fuel-laden planes were used on September 11, 2001,” he said.
Less than 10% of air cargo is inspected. Machines used to inspect entire containers of cargo are confined primarily to areas along the US-Canadian border and major US seaports.
The FBI has launched an investigation to determine how McKinley was able to ship himself unnoticed in light of heightened airport security ahead of the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
McKinley said he got thirsty and cold during the trip.