Drunk American Airlines Baggage Handler Spends Flight Asleep in Cargo Hold

Nov 1, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A drunk baggage handler for American Airlines subsidiary carrier Piedmont Airlines was an accidental stowaway on a flight to Chicago after he took a nap in the plane’s cargo hold.

The worker was loading bags onto flight AA 363 at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) on Saturday Oct. 27. He was working the luggage ramp when he decided to sneak into the cargo hold of the Boeing 737-800 for a nap.

No one noticed that the unidentified man was missing from his work post — or that he was in the belly of the aircraft — because the plane took off with the employee still in the cargo hold at 5:52am local time. He wasn’t discovered until after the hour-long flight, when the plane parked at its gate at O’Hare (ORD) at about 7:30am local time.

USA Today reports that the man was interviewed by the Chicago Police Department, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office — a normal procedure in aviation security incidents. Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told USA Today that the man told law enforcement he was drunk and accidentally fell asleep in the plane’s cargo hold. The man wasn’t charged with a crime, and he was flown back to MCI on another American flight.

“Our top priority is ensuring the well-being of the Piedmont employee,” an American representative told TPG in an email. “He did not request any medical attention upon arrival in Chicago, and we are grateful that he did not sustain any injuries,” the spokesperson continued, noting that the hold was pressurized and heated. “The American team is very concerned about this serious situation, and we are reviewing what transpired with our Piedmont and Kansas City colleagues.”

Baggage handlers falling asleep in the cargo hold is not an uncommon occurrence. A baggage handler for a United Express plane was stuck in the cargo hold on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT) to Washington Dulles (IAD). And pilots turned around an Alaska flight in 2015 after both passengers and crew heard a trapped baggage handler banging on the cargo hold ceiling. Most accidental stowaways go unharmed because aircraft cargo holds are heated and pressurized.

Featured image by American Airlines Group.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.