A man fell asleep on board a flight and woke up in a cold, dark plane that was locked and he couldn’t get out. Tom Wagner has a tale to tell after waking up in a dark cabin of a plane alone at the airport, according to ABC News local on Dec. 7.
Wagner was flying from Louisiana and he had a layover in Houston. This is when he fell asleep. When he woke up he was a bit startled to find he was left there alone with no way to get out of the plane, which was now parked at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Wagner said he was fast asleep at a window seat on a United Express flight on Friday night when he apparently slept through the flight emptying out, but somehow he was forgotten as everyone else deplaned.
He first thought he was dreaming and he remembers how cold he felt. He made a frantic call to his girlfriend telling her he was stuck inside the plane. She thought he was kidding.
A clip of Wagner explaining his ordeal was shown on “Fox and Friends Weekend” on Sunday morning live. He said the airline tried to keep this “hush-hush” giving him a “little packet” of free little goodies. They also gave him a $250 voucher towards a future flight and put him up in a hotel because he missed his connecting flight.
Wagner said not one person, a passenger or an airline staff woke him up. He said to the media:
"They didn't sweep the plane," Wagner said. "I mean, who shut the door?"
Wagner called his girlfriend, who called the airline to tell them that he was in the plane and couldn't get out. It took the company another 30 minutes to get to Wagner. When they opened the door they were stunned to see him. This happened to a woman on another United Express flight in 2010. The woman was left on a plane in Philadelphia for hours.
United Express is investigating how this could this happen and they issued a statement on Saturday afternoon:
"An ExpressJet passenger remained on board flight 4245, operating as United Express from Lafayette, La. to Houston on Friday, Dec. 6, after all passengers had deplaned. ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."
The airline said there was a post-flight walk-through that was done, but the company couldn't explain how they missed Wagner.
James Conway is a counter terrorism expert with Global Intel Strategies Inc. and a former FBI agent, he is calling this incident "alarming." Conway also brought up a very serious point:
"If an individual is going to be missed, what about a package or a backpack or a piece of luggage that could pose a threat to the aircraft on the next flight?"