Airline Lands Plane After Woman Fakes Illness to Get Better Seat

Airline Lands Plane After Woman Fakes Illness to Get Better Seat
In this April 24, 2019, photo, American Airlines aircraft are shown parked at their gates at Miami International Airport in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Paula Liu

A woman was escorted off an aircraft and into Florida Police custody after she faked having an illness in an attempt to get a better seat on the plane on the morning of Nov. 29, according to multiple reports.

The woman was aboard an American Eagle flight that traveled from Pensacola to Miami at the time of the incident, and within an hour of take off the aircraft turned around and headed back to Pensacola in order assist the woman who claimed to have a medical issues, according to CTV News.
Providence Journal reported that the woman, who has not been named by authorities, notified the aircrew that she had trouble breathing and, believing that the woman was suffering from a medical emergency, they turned the plane around at around 6:26 a.m. CTV News reported that it was during this flight that the female passenger asked for a bigger seat, and then complained about being ill after the aircrew told the passenger that they could not offer her a better seat.
In a statement to Simple Flying, American Airlines said: “On [Nov. 29], American Eagle flight 3508 returned to Pensacola due to a passenger who requested medical assistance. The flight took off at 5:43 a.m. and landed back at Pensacola at 6:26 a.m. and taxied to the gate. All passengers deplaned normally at the gate through the main boarding door and onto the jet bridge.”

The aircrew notified the ground control about the incident and once on the ground, the female passenger refused to disembark the aircraft. Other passengers were asked to leave the aircraft in order for the police to embark and take the passenger into custody, according to Simple Flying.

“The passenger was subsequently removed by law enforcement and medical personnel, and the flight took off again at 7:41 a.m.,” the statement said.

The Daily Mail reported that the passenger admitted to faking the illness in order to get a better seat, and she was taken into police custody under the Baker Act which states that authorities are allowed to detain and assess any person who poses an imminent threat to both themselves and other people.

Mike Wood, Pensacola Police Department public information officer, also said that the woman was taken into custody due to certain things that she had said during an exchange between her and the authorities, the Daily Mail reported. He said that no charges had been filed as of yet, but there may be some in the future.