Alaska Airlines bans baggage handler who fell asleep in cargo hold of plane

SEATTLE (AP) — Alaska Airlines says a baggage handler who fell asleep inside the cargo hold of one of its planes and called for help when the plane took off "has been permanently banned from ever working on any Alaska Airlines flights."

The airline said earlier that its investigation showed its policies were knowingly violated by an experienced employee who hid in the hold to take a nap.

The man is an employee of Menzies Aviation, which contracts with airlines to handle baggage. He was in a pressurized and climate-controlled part of the cargo hold and was unhurt.

When he realized what was happening as Flight 448 left Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday, he called 911 and also banged on the ceiling of the cargo hold. He was heard by pilots and first-class passengers on the Los Angeles-bound flight.

The pilots quickly returned to Sea-Tac. The plane was in the air just 14 minutes.

Menzies officials have declined to release the worker's name.