A woman demanding a larger seat on an American Airlines flight is in custody after faking a medical condition that prompted the pilot to head back to a Florida airport.
"Once airborne, she told them she wanted a bigger seat. The pilot declared an emergency... once they got on the ground, she made it clear that she was faking the medical condition to get a bigger seat," said Mike Wood, Pensacola Police Department public information officer.
Flight crews summoned authorities once the Miami-bound flight arrived back to Pensacola, where it originally took off from, early Friday morning.
A Pensacola police spokesman says the plane was evacuated when the woman refused to deplane. Authorities and the plane’s pilot eventually succeeded in talking the woman off the plane.
Police say the woman was taken into custody under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows authorities to hold a person who could pose a threat to themselves or others.
"Because of things she said, she was taken in custody (under the Baker Act). Criminal charges have not been filed yet, but there may be some charges in the future.”
There were no injuries reported.
American Airlines released the following statement:
"Earlier today, American Eagle 3508 returned to Pensacola due to a passenger who requested medical assistance. The flight took off at 5:43 a.m. and landed back at Pensacola at 6:26 a.m. and taxied to the gate. All passenger deplaned normally at the gate through the main boarding door and onto the jet bridge.
The passenger was subsequently removed by law enforcement and medical personnel, and the flight took off again at 7:41 a.m."