When Brian Plummer sat on the Delta Air Lines flight ready to depart for La Guardia Airport on Monday, he said, he saw a man and a woman with a large dog nearby.
The Atlanta-bound plane was not fully filled, Mr. Plummer said, and the couple changed seats several times.
Mr Plummer said the man and woman never compromised and Flight 462 started driving a taxi to the runway, ignoring the flight attendant’s order to sit down and the man stood up, saying he had to face post-traumatic stress disorder. Was.
A short time later, Mr. Plummer said, he realized the plane had stopped. It was not immediately clear to him why, but the flight crew finally told the passengers what had happened.
Authorities said the man opened the door to a cabin, triggering an emergency slide and then he, his female companion and their dog exited the plane.
The couple was in custody; It was unclear what charges, if any, they might face if flying with Delta in the future, or whether they could be prohibited.
This was not the first time a Panckee passenger had performed such a maneuver at an airport in New York, but Delta, the FAA, nor the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates La Guardia, can simply say on Monday How it was unusual for someone to do such an escape.
“It doesn’t happen every day at the airport,” said Lenis Valence, an authority spokesman.
Mr. Plummer said that he saw the man standing as the plane left the gate. “They looked really cool,” Mr. Plummer said of the couple.
The man told a flight attendant that he could not sit down due to his post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr. Plummer said.
“If I sit down, I’ll get out,” said the man, Mr. Plummer recalled.
The flight attendant again asked the man to take his seat, and then he refused, Mr. Plummer said. Instead, he started walking towards the front of the plane, getting far enough away that Mr. Plummer lost sight of him.
A Delta spokesman said the plane, which was scheduled to leave before 10 a.m., returned to the gate, where the remaining passengers were “normally lowered and adjusted to alternate flights.” (Mr. Plummer said it took several hours for him to leave.)
Officials said no one was injured in the case. It was not immediately clear where the service dog was.
The most famous example of an unauthorized sliding exit occurred at Kennedy International Airport 10 years ago, with a JetBlue flight attendant stating that he was involved in a dispute with a passenger.
In that instance, after the plane announced its intent on the public address system, the flight attendant activated an emergency slide, sliding it up to the tarmac and throwing his tie to the ground as he drove away.
More recently, a passenger boarding a flight to Newark Liberty International Airport in Florida escaped from an inflatable slide during an emergency exit and while the plane was at the gate in February 2018, according to WNBC.
The television station reported that when officers arrived to arrest him, he was screaming that he was not on the plane because it was not his flight.