Airline Worker Trapped in Cargo Hold of Plane At 20,000 Feet

Hiding out in the cargo hold of a plane is something that’s most common in movie plots and children’s dreams. However, it became a reality for one man on Sunday and is now prompting federal investigation.

A wild ride?

Baggage worker Reginald Gaskin rode in the cargo hold of an Embarer jet for about 80 minutes on a United Airlines flight from Charlotte to the Dulles airport outside of Washington, D.C. The cargo hold was pressurized and temperature controlled, according to a United Airlines spokeswoman. The plane reached a cruising altitude of 20,000 feet. And, Gaskin did not sustain any injuries during the flight. Gaskin told the Washington Post he was thankful for a safe journey.

“I thank God. He was with me,” Gaskin told the Post. He is cooperating with investigations into the incident.

Investigations continue

cargo hold united airlines baggage handler
This may look like a playground, but it’s no longer fun when you’re trapped at 20,000 feet. Source: Pixabay

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident and planned to talk with Gaskin this week. In addition, Dulles Airport Police conducted its own investigation. They did not charge Gaskin with a crime since he had proper identification as an airport employee.

Mesa Airlines, a regional subset of United, operated the plane. Gaskin works for Mesa contractor G2 Secure Staff. G2 Secure Staff issued a statement saying that Gaskin traveled in the cargo hold accidentally. The company is cooperating with investigations into the incident.

Not the first time

Gaskin is not the first airport worker to end up in a plane’s cargo hold. Another worker fell victim to something similar. An Alaska Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Seattle in 2015 after pilots and passengers heard someone banging on the cargo hold.

The worker said he fell asleep while loading bags. Like Gaskin, he rode in the pressurized part of the cargo hold. His employer, Menzies Aviation, said he broke their rules by napping in the plane.