Ask anyone who punches the clock, sleeping on the job has its consequences. For sure you lose in terms of productivity, and could even lose your job. Or in extreme cases, you could lose all perspective regarding where the heck you are once you wake up.
That's exactly what happened on Saturday to one American Airlines ground crewman, who was also apparently intoxicated while doing his shift at a Kansas City airport. The baggage handler was doing a load-in for a Boeing 737 flight destined for Chicago when he felt the cargo hold inside the plane was a cushy enough spot to sleep off the excesses.
It must have been one heck of a snooze, as the worker, whose name has not been released, didn't hear the cargo door slam shut or the roar of the engines as American Flight 363 departed.
Surprisingly, he wasn't reported missing back in Kansas City, ever since the 5:52 a.m. flight took off. It wasn't until 7:30 a.m. (both cities are on Central Time) when the plane landed and the cargo was about to be unloaded when he was discovered in the Boeing's belly. As stowaways are considered security risks, the hapless handler faced extensive interrogation from Chicago police officials, the FBI, and the brass at the U.S. Attorney's Office until all were convinced his story held up.
The good news is that the employee was uninjured and in good health since the cargo hold has temperature and air pressure control. No charges were laid and the man was given a return ticket on the next flight back to Kansas City, where American Airlines suspended him, pending the results of an investigation.
While the company is taking the matter seriously, one employee remarked that baggage handlers frequently sleep on the job, given the physical labor involved in moving all that luggage. Furthermore, it's not the first time an incident like this has taken place.
Earlier this year, a handler was trapped in a United Airlines cargo section back in 2017 during a trip heading to Washington D.C. from Charlotte, North Carolina. Two years earlier, passengers on board an Alaska Airlines jet that left Seattle for Los Angeles were freaked out over the sounds of banging beneath the floor. It turned out a handler was trapped underneath as well. Neither employees needed medical attention.