Last updated: 05:24 PM ET, Tue April 14 2015

Sea-Tac Airport Worker Falls Asleep in Cargo Hold, Forces Emergency Landing

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | April 14, 2015

Sea-Tac Airport Worker Falls Asleep in Cargo Hold, Forces Emergency Landing

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

Falling asleep on a plane is the goal of many long-distance travelers, but one Seattle-Tacoma International Airport employee got more than he bargained for when he took a nap in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight and awoke as the plane was leaving for Los Angeles.

According to, the Sea-Tac Airport worker was in the cargo hold when Alaska Airlines Flight 448 departed at 2:39 p.m. local time Monday afternoon, but the pilot reported hearing banging from the cargo bay and turned the plane around for an emergency landing.

Upon landing Sea-Tac Airport, officials found a Menzies Aviation ramp agent — the company that handles baggage services for Alaska Airlines — who told airport employees that he had fallen asleep after loading the plane. He was taken to Highline Hospital in Burien, Washington, and was released a short time later.

The worker reportedly passed all drug tests.

The employee was part of a four-person team assigned to loading planes, and when the leader noticed the worker missing, he had assumed he left at the end of his shift, which was 2:30 p.m. local time. While the cargo hold is pressurized and temperature-controlled, it can still be very dangerous.

One of the passengers on the flight, Marty Collins, told that the plane turned around shortly after takeoff, but that the passengers did not hear the worker making noise in the cargo hold, nor did they know why the plane was making an emergency landing.

The plane was only in the air 14 minutes before landing once again at Sea-Tac Airport. Passengers remained on the plane until the cargo hold was investigated and cleared, and the flight once again departed for Los Angeles at around 4 p.m. local time.

BONUS: TravelPulse founder Mark Murphy appeared on Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss this unique incident. Check out his thoughts below:

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