Passengers at Philadelphia International Airport had quite a scare Wednesday evening after a man allegedly posed as a pilot aboard a US Airways flight awaiting takeoff to Florida.
Police and the FBI are still trying to determine why Philippe Jeannard, of La Rocelle, France tried to pull this off.
"He had an Air France shirt. He had an Air France bag. He had some identification that looked like he was a crew member from Air France," Capt. Michael Murphy of the Philadelphia Police Department told FOX 29.
There's one problem: Jeannard isn't a pilot for Air France.
"This person was not wearing an Air France uniform or badge (Crew Member Certificate)," according to a statement from Air France, USA Today writes. "Regarding the badge, it was a very bad fake badge, which in no way resembled the Air France Crew Member Certificate (CMC)."
I hate Americans
Jeannard had a ticket on the US Airways flight to West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday evening, CBS Philadelphia reports.
At about 6:20 p.m., Jeannard got upset at a gate agent after being denied a seat in business class, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He then got into an argument with the the agent telling him, "I hate Americans," but continued to board the plane, ABC news reported.
It was at that point he reportedly headed for the cockpit. Shortly thereafter, a flight attendant and the co-pilot allegedly discovered Jeannard in the cockpit sitting in the jump seat located directly behind the pilot's seat, the news organization reports.
When questioned by flight crew, he allegedly identified himself as a 747 pilot for Air France.
But flight staff remained suspicious. When asked to produce proper credentials, Jeannard became argumentative. At that point, the boarding agent recognized Jeannard and called police to remove him.
He was arrested and charged with criminal trespass, tampering with records, impersonating a privately employed person, and presenting a false ID to law enforcement, CBS reports.
Police and the FBI are still trying to determine how Jeannard got into the cockpit.
"It's concerning because we don't know what his designs were," said Michael Murphy, captain of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Our enemies are watching
Airline passengers were shocked to hear of the breach.
"He's not even a licensed pilot?" passenger Mike Hunnewell from Boston told FOX 29. "That's more than uncomfortable."
“That’s pretty scary,” frequent flier Bill McKenney told CBS Philadelphia. “I fly every week.”
"(It's) probably good that the rest of checks and balances worked and he wasn't able to do anything," McKenney added, "but something needs to be looked at."
As the FBI continues to investigate, former federal prosecutor and licensed commercial pilot Fred Tecce told FOX 29 there's a lesson to be learned here.
"Guess what, our enemies are watching this too, we're watching this, our enemies are watching this," he said.
Tecce says the first red flag should have gone up at the boarding gate when an angry Jeannard told the gate attendant he "hated Americans."
Jeannard is being held on $1 million bail. A judge says he must give up his passport pending an April 5th court hearing.