Published November 29, 2015
A Seattle airport baggage handler who fell asleep in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines plane Monday has been banned from working on any of the carrier's flights.
Alaska Airlines said in a statement late Thursday that the unidentified worker "has been permanently banned from ever working on any Alaska Airlines flights."
The employee of Menzies Aviation, which contracts with airlines to handle baggage, told first responders he had taken a nap in the front cargo hold of the Los Angeles-bound flight. The plane was forced to return to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 14 minutes into the flight after the pilot and passengers heard banging sounds coming from the front cargo hold.
Menzies officials said he had worked for the company for 18 months and was fortunate he was trapped in a part of the plane that was pressurized and temperature-controlled. The front cargo hold is often used to carry passengers' pets. The company added that its policies were knowingly violated by the employee.
Also Thursday, 911 calls made by the worker in the early part of the flight were released, revealing his increasing desperation to get out of the hold.
"Hello, I'm stuck in this plane," the worker initially says.
"You're where?" the 911 operator responds.
"I'm inside a plane, and I feel like it's moving in the air. Flight 448," the worker says "Can you please have somebody stop it?"
The 911 dispatcher asked at least three times for the airport worker to clarify his location.
"You're where?" the dispatcher asked. "Where are you in a plane?"
After the worker repeated his request for help, the dispatcher said: "Are you at the airport?"
The worker tried one more time to explain before the call cut out. The operator tried to call back, but the worker's phone appeared to have lost service.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.