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More Airline #PRFail: Man Wakes Up in Locked United Airplane


Admit it. You all thought it. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program…

Just when the airlines thought things were back on track, this happens from Houston’s Bush International Airport. Meet Tom Wagner, some dude from Louisiana who was going back to Cali. Tom caught a layover in Houston (as most commuters do) and grabbed some ZZZZZZs in seat 26A.

And that’s where the tomfoolery began, according to this report from KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston

Here’s Tom on an United Express flight last week, feeling sleepy, so he puts on his ‘Hello Kitty’ sleep mask and crashes. Evidently, crashed harder than a narcoleptic on an all-nighter because the astute flight attendants left him on the plane. 

“I was coming from Louisiana to see my sister in California. We had a layover in Texas,” Wagner said. “I just took my hat off and I took a nap … I woke up and the lights were out. I was like, what’s going on? I thought maybe it was a layover, still on the same plane.”

That’s right, airline security aficionados. Alone. As in, in the dark cabin by himself to do whatever. You know, like plan a terrorist plot at the 5th largest airport in the country. Tom thought he was dreaming. And then, panic set in. He called his girlfriend to let her know about the hilarity. And, oh yes, beg for help.

“I called my girlfriend, and she thought I was crazy. I said, ‘Debbie I’m locked on the plane.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane.’” Wagner says his girlfriend called the airline. After more than half an hour, workers came aboard and were stunned to find the lone passenger. ”I said, ‘Don’t put the blame on me. I didn’t do anything wrong here.’ And then they were, like, try to hush-hush, keep it quiet. And they gave me this little package here in a motel room.”

Classy. Hush money from a company that can’t deal with much more PR Fail moments. Naturally, United Airlines considered the quandary this could pose to shareholders and consumers, so they hooked Tom up, right? Eh, not so much.

Wagner told us he missed his connecting flight, but United Express got him to his destination in California. They did not refund his ticket, but they did put him up in a hotel room and give him a $250 voucher. We [KTRK-TV] reached out to the Transportation Security Administration. A spokesperson said Wagner was not a security risk since he was checked by agents in Louisiana.

And that is why I drive. The end.


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