NBC10 Philadelphia - Monique Braxton
Officials arrested 61-year-old Phillippe Jernnard after they say he boarded a U.S. Airways flight dressed as an Air France pilot on Wednesday. He was caught trying to sit in the jump seat located behind the captain, according to a police report. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports the details.
A man caught impersonating a pilot was arrested after he boarded a flight scheduled to fly from Philadelphia International Airport to West Palm Beach, Fla.
Philippe Jernnard, 61, of France, boarded the US Airways flight Wednesday night, according to the FBI.
NBC10's Rosemary Connors talked with airport police Capt. Michael Murphy who says that Jernnard was wearing an Air France shirt, had an Air France bag and presented a ticket to the gate agent and walked onto the plane.
The gate agent told authorities that Jernnard had asked if there was any room in first class and was told "no."
According to the arrest report, Jernnard became irate after being told "no" and told her that he hated Americans and began to argue.
When the gate agent finished boarding the flight and went to close the plane's doors for takeoff, the arrest report states, she saw Jernnard sitting in the jump seat behind the captain's seat and his carry-on bag was stowed in the cockpit.
“She just assumes he takes his seat in coach and when she goes in to inform co-captain of the number of passengers on the flight that’s when she kind of recognizes he’s out of place,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker.
According to that arrest report, the agent told Jernnard that he couldn't sit there unless he filled out paperwork and the captain told him to return to his assigned seat.
Police say Jernnard started arguing and that's when the crew notified authorities.
The captain and first officer told authorities the man said he was a pilot with Air France and knew how to fly 747s, but they became suspicious when he couldn't figure out how to open the jump seat.
After Jernnard was taken off the plane, police found an Air France ID card that had been changed to match his name.
In a statement released to NBC News, Air France denies that Jernnard had a certified crew badge:
"This person was not wearing an Air France uniform, badge (Crew Member Certificate) or carrying an Air France crew baggage. Regarding the badge, it was a very poor fake badge, which in no way resembled the Air France Crew Member Certificate (CMC)."
Jernnard was arrested and charged with criminal trespass, tampering with records, impersonating a person privately employed and false ID to law enforcement. He will be charged federally Friday morning.