First off, it's not Donna Gold's fault.
The Syosset, New York, resident booked a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to New York's LaGuardia airport and did everything she was supposed to do.
Gold had her boarding pass printed curbside at Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Aug. 21, WCBS-TV in New York reported.
“You give them your driver’s license or whatever form of identification you’re using — and that’s what they use to retrieve your reservation — and then they give you your boarding pass,” Gold said.
Then, she checked her bags with a Delta skycap.
“He checked my bag through, I got my baggage ticket put on back of boarding pass, and I was on my way,” Gold said.
Since she was late for her flight, she was funneled to Transportation Security Administration's precheck line.
“The agent asked me to remove my sunglasses — checking my driver’s license, supposedly, against this boarding pass — and I removed my sunglasses and he ushered me right through,” Gold told WCBS.
At the gate, the agent there also checked her boarding pass.
And yet despite three security checks, somehow no one noticed the glaring error: A man's name was on the boarding pass Gold was holding.
It wasn't until that man, Mark Dornan, showed up to sit in his seat that the airline figured out something was amiss. Gold was asked to get up and produce her boarding pass.
“And they’re are like, ‘This is not your boarding pass.’ They tell me I’m a security breach," she said. "It was actually very humiliating.”
With Delta and TSA officials now aboard the flight, Gold showed them her legitimate booking on her smartphone and was allowed to take a different seat for the flight home. But she told WCBS the whole ordeal was unnerving for other reasons.
“With terrorists and people that are dangerous, who are on a mission to do harm, how could this happen?” Gold asked the station.
Anthony Roman, a security expert and president of Roman and Associates global investigations, told WCBS it only takes one "serious security breach by a homegrown terrorist or foreign national to board an American airline, and down that airline."
Still, he conceded to the station that while "every breach is serious," the reality is that "no security procedures are 100 percent.”
The TSA in Atlanta told WCBS that the agent involved should have caught the error on Gold's boarding pass. The good news, the TSA said, was that Gold and her luggage were screened, which eliminated risk of harm.
Delta is investigating the computer glitch that produced Gold's bad boarding pass, the station reported.