Woman fakes sickness on plane to get better seat, gets arrested instead

  • 03/12/2019
A woman on an American Eagle flight from Pensacola was arrested after forcing the plane to land as she faked a medical emergency to get upgraded to a bigger seat.
She didn't end up in first class. Photo credit: Getty (file)

A flight in the US was forced to turn around and land after a female passenger faked a medical emergency to get a better seat, police and the airline say.

The American Eagle flight from the Florida city of Pensacola left for Miami in the morning of November 29 (local time), but had to turn back around an hour after takeoff.

The woman started complaining about her seat shortly after takeoff, police say. After she was not given an upgrade by cabin crew, she complained of feeling ill and claimed she was having trouble breathing.

Once the pilot had made an emergency landing as a result, the airline says the woman refused to get off the plane and made it clear that her illness wasn't genuine - so police were called.

"Once they got on the ground, she made it clear that she was faking the medical condition to get a bigger seat," Mike Wood of the Pensacola Police told NBC Miami.

The plane was grounded for about an hour and all other passengers had to get off and wait for police to remove the passenger.

"All passengers deplaned normally at the gate through the main boarding door and onto the jet bridge," said a spokesperson for American Airlines, the airline's parent company.

"The passenger was subsequently removed by law enforcement and medical personnel, and the flight took off again."

The woman didn't end up with a better plane seat - she was taken into custody and may ultimately face charges.