Pilot Forced to Turn Plane Around after Passenger Faked Illness to Get a Better Seat

A recent American Eagle flight bound for Miami, Fl. was forced to return to Pensacola, Fl. after a passenger faked a medical emergency to get a better seat.

When a woman claimed to have trouble breathing, the pilot declared an emergency and returned to the origin airport. American Eagle flight 3508 landed back in Pensacola around 6:30 a.m. on November 29 and was grounded for over an hour due to the incident. 

“Once they got on the ground, she made it clear that she was faking the medical condition to get a bigger seat," Mike Wood, Pensacola Police Department public information officer, told NBC Miami.

On the ground, the passenger refused to get off the plane, which forced an evacuation of the entire cabin.

“All passengers deplaned normally at the gate through the main boarding door and onto the jet bridge,” a spokesperson for American Airlines, the airline's parent company, said in a statement to the network. “The passenger was subsequently removed by law enforcement and medical personnel, and the flight took off again at 7:41 a.m.”

The passenger was held by police under the Baker Act, which allows officials to detain those suffering from mental illness who may pose a danger to themselves or others. She was then transported to a mental health facility.

The woman has not yet been charged but could face criminal charges.


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