One of the challenges associated with no-fly lists is when they include people who are not doing anything that warrants suspicion. In Markham, Ontario (Canada), a 6-year-old boy has reportedly been flagged as a travel risk since before he could even talk. Syed Adam Ahmed’s family has kept him unaware of the security attention surrounding him, but they say they have repeatedly gotten in touch with airline staff and government officials to find out why their son has been targeted.
His parents, Sulemaan Ahmed and Khadija Cajee, first realized that there was something wrong shortly after he was born when they were traveling to Mexico on a family vacation. They couldn’t check in online for their flights and border guards took their passports away for further examination. They had assumed at the time that it was related to one of them, and certainly not their toddler. Vice News reported that a few months later, they were trying to fly to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an Air Canada agent told them that their infant son had a “deemed high profile” label on his file, meaning that he was potentially on a Canadian or an American no-fly list and would require special screening.
Despite never having been banned from flying, the family says that they have to routinely arrive at airports early in order to clear the extra screening. The family has made efforts to reach out to Canadian authorities to understand the situation, but have not heard back. Recently, on their trip to the Boston area to watch the Winter Classic hockey game at Gillette Stadium, the Air Canada agent allowed Sulemaan to take a photo indicating that their son is a “High Profile” guest.
Have you had similar experiences with being on a no-fly list, or requiring extra screening on a consistent basis? I know of several people who have the misfortune of sharing the same name as someone on a watch list and must go through extra screening when they fly.