On Friday evening’s American Airlines flight AA2205 from Dallas Fort-Worth to Miami a passenger reports that a woman got up from coach and moved into first class on the Boeing 777-200 in order to sit with a friend while the plane was still boarding. She hid in the friend’s seat.
The aircraft was completely full, with every seat taken. So a flight attendant noticed that while the plane was taxiing out a passenger was missing from their seat in back. There was “a purse sitting in the seat” and passengers around the empty seat reported that a woman had gotten up and left, never to return.
This all went down after a 90 minute delay caused by “a catering truck [that] had hit a cargo door.”
According to the eyewitness account, the woman was hiding underneath the ottoman of the premium seat up front. And the whole scheme was meant to drum up interest in her social media profile.
I saw the friend crawl under the J seat (more exactly the television console) but began to watch a movie. Well apparently the plan was for this woman’s friend to remain there the entire flight as it’s something they thought would drive viewers to their “You Tube Channel”.
…[T]here’s an announcement for this [passenger] to identify herself or we can’t take off. At that point I realize that she’s hiding under her friend’s..seat. I can tell the [aircraft] is pulling off the taxiway to park and as soon as it’s parked my intention is to ring the call button if this woman doesn’t give herself up. She does and tries to sneak back into [coach] but is immediately busted by the [cabin crew].
The aircraft, registration N758AN, features American’s newer Super Diamond business class seat. The footwell isn’t huge.
The flight’s captain announced a “security issue” and proceeded to return to the gate. The woman hiding under her friend’s seat up front “scream[ed] that she’s being disrespected, did nothing wrong, she paid good money for her ticket and that she has a child at home waiting for her.” And at that point she’s “also taken off her mask” (natch).
She’s removed from the plane, and the actual first class passenger is too. Now that passenger “refuses and continues to scream sans mask.” After all, she was only an accomplice. That’s when,
[T]he Captain bolts out of cockpit, very unhappy and tells the woman to get off the [aircraft]. She refuses and the police show up to drag her off. In the meantime another [coach passenger] starts to cuss out a [flight attendant] because of the delay and the police drag him off.
All told, between the initial delay and the return to the gate in Dallas to remove passengers, the flight ran nearly 3 hours late.