Judge acquits man who lived at Chicago airport for three months

Real-life Terminal man who spent three months living in secured terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport – like Tom Hanks’ character – instead of flying home to India is acquitted on trespassing charge

  • Aditya Singh, 37, was acquitted on a felony trespassing charge by  Cook County Judge Adrienne Davis
  • He still faces a charge for violating the terms of his electronic monitoring while out on bond for the trespassing charge and is expected in court on Friday 
  • Singh spent three months living in a secured terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, instead of flying home to India as he had planned
  • Singh told authorities he stayed at the airport because the coronavirus pandemic had left him afraid to fly 

A man who spent three months living in a secured terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has been acquitted on a felony trespassing charge.

Cook County Judge Adrienne Davis acquitted Aditya Singh on the charge this week without his attorney having to mount a defense.

Singh, 37, spent three months at the airport, where he pretended to be a passenger and an airline employee, instead of flying home to India as he had planned.

He still faces a charge for violating the terms of his electronic monitoring while out on bond for the trespassing charge.

Singh is expected back in court on Friday.

Aditya Singh, 37, was acquitted on a felony trespassing charge by Cook County Judge Adrienne Davis

Singh spent three months living in a secured terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, instead of flying home to India as he had planned

Video shows the moment Singh is arrested at Chicago O’hare Airport after living in the airport for three months. Singh was arrested in January after two United Airlines employees noticed he was wearing a badge that an airport operations manager had reported missing

Singh told authorities he stayed at the airport because the coronavirus pandemic had left him afraid to fly, and that he had been able to get by with the help of strangers who bought him food, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Davis’ reasons for acquitting Singh weren’t immediately clear. But after his January 16 arrest, the Transportation Security Administration, which regulates security at the airport for the Chicago Department of Aviation, determined that Singh hadn’t violated airport regulations.

‘Mr. Singh did not breach or improperly enter secured areas – he arrived there like tens of thousands of arriving passengers do every day, by stepping off a plane,’ Christine Carrino, an aviation department spokeswoman, said in a statement to the newspaper earlier this year.

‘While we won´t speculate on Mr. Singh´s motivations, he decided to remain in the secure area and made every effort to blend in as a passenger and airline employee until his arrest.’


Singh (left) came to the US six years ago and got a master’s program at Oklahoma State University in the summer of 2019. 

In the movie, Hanks portrays a European tourist who becomes trapped at JFK International Airport after a war breaks out in his native country and he can’t leave or enter the United States

Mehran Karimi Nasser lived in a departure lounge of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport for nearly two decades

Singh was arrested in January after two United Airlines employees noticed he was wearing a badge that an airport operations manager had reported missing.

A friend of Singh’s told the Tribune that he told her in text messages that he enjoyed talking to people at the airport about his Buddhist and Hindu beliefs on healing.

‘I’m actually growing spiritually due to this experience and I know I will come out stronger,’ he wrote to the friend in a text she shared with the newspaper.

He came to the US six years ago and got a master’s program at Oklahoma State University in the summer of 2019. He then moved to Orange, California, where he cared for a friend’s elderly father in exchange for a living.

As his visa expiration date approached, Singh made plans to return to India.

Singh boarded a Chicago-bound flight from Los Angeles in October 2020, to begin his journey.

Friends of Singh told the tribune he was a nonviolent, kind person, who was living at the airport as part of a ‘spiritual awaking of sorts.’

Singh’s highly publicized three-month stay at the airport is eerily reminiscent of Tom Hank’s’ 2004 film The Terminal.

In the movie, Hanks portrays a European tourist who becomes trapped at JFK International Airport after a war breaks out in his native country and he can’t leave or enter the United States.

The movie is based on the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived in a departure lounge of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport for nearly two decades from 1988 to 2006.

Nasseri, who claimed had been expelled from Iran. After getting refugee status, he was en route to the UK but lost his papers when his briefcase was stolen.

He made it to London but was returned to France. With no country to be returned to, he started living at the airport.

Throughout the years, Nasseri refused to sign residency papers from France and Belgium because he was listed as Iranian. He left the airport after 18 years when he had to be hospitalized. 

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