Just to get away from his mother, 11-year-old Liam Corcoran travelled all the way from England to Rome without a passport, boarding card, ticket or money.
While his mother shopped near Manchester airport, Liam made his way to terminal one, giving security the slip. The boy followed another family and security staff failed to realise he was on his own and had no documents.
Once on the aircraft, even the crew missed the fact that he did not have a boarding card.
The jet took off as normal and it was only during the journey to Italy that passengers became suspicious of the boy and told the cabin crew. The crew members alerted the captain who radioed back to Manchester.
Police at Manchester airport then called the boy’s mother to tell her that her son had been found safe — but that he was on a plane travelling to Italy.
The plane landed at Fiumicino airport in Rome where the boy was asked to remain on board while the other passengers left the aircraft. He remained on the plane, accompanied by flight crew, as it took off again to return to Manchester.
The returning plane landed at 10.25pm on Tuesday and it is understood the boy was met by his mother and police officers before being interviewed.
Fellow passengers on the returning plane said they had been told the alarm was raised when Liam told people on the plane he was running away from home.
"He was very talkative and seemed quite unfazed by it all. He was chatting away about how he'd been trying to run away from home,” said passenger Sarah Swayne. "He seemed quite innocent and I don't think it had sunk in how serious the situation was."
Following the incident, an investigation has begun at Manchester airport and at least five staffers of Jet2.com – the flight the boy took – have been suspended. GNS