- A man buys a United Airlines ticket from Louisiana to California via Houston on United.
- He boards the first leg and being an extraordinary sleeper, falls into a deep slumber on an Embrarer regional jet, one of the most uncomfortable aircraft in the United Express fleet
- Upon landing in Houston, none of his seatmates wake up Rip Van Winkle and the crew leaves the aircraft without performing a walk through the cabin to ensure that all passengers and baggage have been removed.
- The lights are turned off and the aircraft door is shut.
- Hours pass and Rip suddenly wakes up to a dark, cold, airplane, having no idea where he is.
- He tries the door and being unfamiliar with the handle, assumes it is locked.
- He calls his girlfriend in California, who is incredulous about his story and no doubt thinks he met another woman on the flight or had a few too many on Bourbon Street and is passed out in some back alley having never made it to the airport…or something like that.
- She calls United for help and they dispatch a team to the aircraft. Rip is found and given a hotel room and $250 United voucher for his trouble. He arrives safely in California the next day.
If this story sounds familar, it is because it is–a similar event happend on a United Express plane in Phildelphia about three years ago.
ExpressJet issued the following statement–
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.
Nice of it to cover for United by calling the passenger an “ExpressJet” passenger, but when the plane is painted with United Express livery and sold by United, I do not find the admitedly legal distinction all that practical.
I am glad the passenger made it to California–be sure to watch the video for a good laugh. Somehow, I am just not surpried any of this happened.