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Passenger wakes up from flight to find himself in a locked, cold, dark and empty plane!

Imagine if you fell asleep on your flight and didn’t wake up on landing. Take that a step further and imagine none of the passengers or crew had spotted you as they disembarked. They all leave, leaving you alone on the plane. Now spare a thought for Tom Wagner for whom this precise scenario happened. Empty plane Wagner was en route from Louisiana to visit his sister in California last Friday and was due to transfer planes in Houston. He had made his way to the rear of on ExpressJet flight 4245 to Houston where he was due to get a connecting flight, but had soon nodded off. The next thing he knew, he’d awoken on the plane to find it was empty, locked, dark and cold. Thankfully he was able to telephone his girlfriend who alerted the airline and he was released just half an hour later, but imagine if he didn’t have the means to make that call, or if this was a very young or elderly passenger. Funny on the one hand, perhaps, but also rather alarming on the other that this can even happen. What’s your take on it?

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I can’t believe this is even possible. With all of the additional security procedures that they have put in place over the last 10 or 11 years, this should never happen. Air travel has truly gone from being glamorous to totally unglamorous.

  2. I can’t imagine! I wouldn’t know whether to laugh at myself or panic. I think my initial reaction when I read this was that I would probably freak. What would you do if you phone was dead! Crazy!

  3. VERY frightening. Thank goodness he had a cellphone with a charged battery. I can’t believe that none of the crew walked through the plane to make sure everyone was off. Extremely negligent on the airline’s part.

    Can I guess that the airline charged him for a new plane ticket for the rest of his flight because he missed his connection???

  4. So I guess no one cleaned the plane or did any kind of walk-through to check for left behind items, etc. upon landing. Not reassuring! And a good reason to avoid Express Jet.

  5. Incredible. On the one hand, the ignorance of the other passengers as well as the cabin crew and the fact that the bird indeed has to be cleaned and maintained again for the next flight.

    If this had happened to a child then it would probably be on the front page of a Boulevard Newspaper.

  6. Hard to believe that no one would have noticed him! Thankfully he was in good health, had a phone, and was able to get off the plane quickly. What a scary thought!

  7. In a ‘new world’ obsessed with heightened security (as well it should be), I find no comfort in the knowledge of such an occurrence having taken place. The passenger was fortunate enough to ‘talk’ his way out of the situation by phone – but this particular airline ought to be brought to task regarding it’s lack of sufficient security procedures.

  8. OMG, how that can happen? If you would have a flight and upon landing you would notice a passenger who seems to be sleeping would you totally just ignore them???

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