A drunk baggage handler fell asleep inside the cargo hold of an American Airlines Boeing 737 — and wound up flying on board American’s flight AA363, the 6 a.m. departure from Kansas City to Chicago O’Hare on Saturday.
He “wasn’t discovered until the plane landed at O’Hare International Airport and parked at the gate just before 7:30 a.m. local time.”
The decision to fly cargo instead of American’s basic economy might have made sense on one of the airline’s reconfigured 737s with 172 seats — more seats crammed into the space, less padding, smaller lavatories. British Airways baggage handlers simply go in the cargo holds so may have taught a thing or two to this counterpart at their joint venture partner.
However the aircraft in question — ship 3MD — not only still has just 160 seats and more legroom, it still has seat back video and has been retrofitted to offer ViaSat satellite internet.
Last year a United Express baggage handler flew cargo from Charlotte to Washington Dulles
because he didn’t have enough miles to upgrade.
Update: American Airlines provides the following statement,
“A Piedmont Airlines employee, who was working an American Airlines flight on the morning of Oct. 27 at Kansas City International Airport (MCI), inadvertently fell asleep in the forward cargo hold of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The flight subsequently took off with the team member in the cargo hold, which was heated and pressurized.
“The flight landed safely at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) at 7:09 a.m. CT and taxied to the gate. The team member was then discovered upon arrival at the gate in Chicago.
“Our top priority is ensuring the well-being of the Piedmont employee. He did not request any medical attention upon arrival in Chicago, and we are grateful that he did not sustain any injuries.
“The American team is very concerned about this serious situation, and we are reviewing what transpired with our Piedmont and Kansas City colleagues.”