Baggage Handler Locked in Cargo Hold Gets Free Ride on United Flight

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A United Express flight that took off from Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday afternoon landed in Dulles Airport in northern Virginia with some unexpected cargo: a baggage handler.

According to local media reports, the man was locked away in the cargo compartment for the entire flight. Somehow authorities realized there was someone in the belly of the plane after the flight took off and called the Dulles airport to alert authorities. The stowaway was unharmed and refused medical treatment when fire and rescue teams met the plane in Dulles.

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The unnamed man arrived in Dulles dressed in an official baggage handler uniform and had employee identification papers from baggage vendor G2 Secure Staff. But a lack of proper airport identification made police concerned that he may have been a stowaway, NBC 4 reported. 

It’s not clear how this man got locked in the cargo hold, but according to transcripts of calls from dispatchers, the cargo compartment is pressurized, which probably explains how the baggage handler was able to walk away without medical treatment. United acknowledged the additional cargo in a statement to Fox 5 DC but didn’t provide much detail:

United Express flight 6060 operated by Mesa Airlines from Charlotte Douglas to Washington-Dulles (IAD) landed safely at IAD yesterday. Once at the gate, an employee of the airline’s ground handling vendor was found unharmed in the aircraft’s cargo hold. We are looking into what happened.

Flying on United is already pretty awful, so taking an hour and a half flight while locked away in the cargo department seems about as bad as it could get. We’ve reached out to United and G2 Secure Staff for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

[NBC 4 Washington]

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William Turton

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