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Man left on plane: Trapped in United plane, overlooked passenger left in dark

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Man left on plane isn’t the next title of an action movie, but an actual nightmare that happened to a man who fell asleep from a connecting flight this weekend and woke up to find himself trapped in a United Airlines plane, overlooked and left in the dark. The man said it was one layover flight that he will never forget, reports this Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

The man left on plane incident occurred recently this week when Tom Wagner of Louisiana was taking a United Airlines plane from Louisiana to Los Angeles with a midway stop in Houston.

“I woke up, and I looked up at the ceiling, and I saw the lights were out,’’ Wagner said on on the unbelievable event. “Looked down the aisle, ain’t nobody was home.”

Wagner said he soon got up and tried to leave the plane, but that it was locked, and he was literally trapped inside the dark cabin. He opted to call his girlfriend, who thought he was only messing with her.

“She started laughing,’’ he said. “I said, 'You gotta call United and get me off this plane.'’’

But once Wagner’s girlfriend realized Wagner’s man left on plane tale was all too real, she called United Airlines, who thought there must be some sort of mistake.

“She says, 'My boyfriend's on that airplane, you gotta get someone to get him off,’’’ added Wagner. “And he said, 'Ma'am, we sweep those planes. There's no way he's on that plane.'’’

Thirty minutes later, maintenance workers opened the locked plane door and were shocked to find the overlooked passenger inside, thinking he was an Airlines worker.

“They said, 'Where's your badge?'’’ Wagner said. “I said, 'Dude, I don't work here, I'm a passenger on this airplane.' And he said 'Hold on, hold on.' He didn't believe it.”

The problem, an aviation expert later added, was that the closing crew failed to complete a proper sweep of the aircraft before exiting, leading to the man being left on the plane alone.

“It’s obvious in this case that the crew exiting the airplane did not do a sweep,’’ aviation expert Michael Boyd told TODAY on someone being trapped inside a dark, locked plane. “Whatever they say, you can’t miss this.”

Wagner was given a hotel room in Houston to stay for the night by United Airlines, as well as $250 in compensation for the overlooked ordeal. Company ExpressJet is now looking into the incident as well.

“ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."



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