Sleeping passenger locked in plane at Houston airport

HOUSTON Mon Dec 9, 2013 6:40pm EST

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Louisiana man flying to California woke up on a dark, empty plane parked at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston after sleeping through the call to exit the aircraft, officials said on Monday.

Tom Wagner was supposed to leave the plane in Houston last Friday and board a flight to California. Instead, he found himself locked inside the ExpressJet plane, which was operating as a United Express flight.

He called his girlfriend for help, according to an exclusive interview he gave to Houston television station KTRK.

"She thought I was crazy. I said ... 'I'm locked on the plane. I'm telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane'," Wagner told the broadcaster.

Ground staff servicing the airplane a few hours after it landed found and released Wagner, ExpressJet spokeswoman Samantha Harrison said.

Company policy requires the flight crew to do a final sweep of the cabin and the company was investigating how Wagner was left onboard, Harrison said.

"As part of post-flight procedures, our flight attendants are responsible for completing a walk-through on the aircraft," Harrison said in an email.

The company said in a statement: "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."

Wagner told KTRK the airline paid for a hotel in Houston and gave him a $250 voucher for his trouble.

(Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Andrew Hay)

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Comments (2)
euro-yank wrote:
Someone on that flight crew will be receiving a final warning notice for failure to do their duty.

Dec 10, 2013 2:02am EST  --  Report as abuse
AltonBob wrote:
I’ve always been under the impression that airlines worked their fleets much of the time, to generate the income that only a filled seat provides. Evidently, this airline is doing well, leaving an unattended plane parked for hours, awaiting maintenance.

Dec 15, 2013 11:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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