A woman was arrested after admitting to faking an emergency onboard in hopes of securing an upgrade. Small problem, though: the aircraft had no premium cabin.
The incident took place on American Airlines flight 3508 from Pensacola to Miami last Friday. Operated by Envoy, the Embraer ERJ-145 has 50 economy class seats. Every seat is identical, though the three exit row seats do have two extra inches of legroom. There is no first class or premium cabin.
Shortly after takeoff, a woman complained she was feeling very sick. She asked for a bigger seat. Rather than move her to a non-existent seat, the pilot declared an emergency. The flight returned to Pensacola.
Back on the ground, the woman tried to laugh off the diversion, stating it was all a joke and she just wanted a bigger seat. Only no one else was laughing. She was asked to deplane and then refused.
Thus, the entire plane was emptied out and she was left alone with law enforcement officers and the pilot. Eventually, the pilot able to coax her off without having to drag her off.
She is being held under the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, which allows for temporary detentions of those deemed threats to themselves.
The flight took off again and made it Miami about 90 minutes late.
Maybe the woman was sick. But you’d think that if she wanted a free upgrade she would have chosen an aircraft that actually has a first class section…