After the flight was canceled and there was no staff to deploy the jet bridge, American Airlines customers used the emergency exit and escaped.
American Airlines flight AA2396 was set to depart from Charlotte to Baltimore at 8:55 a.m. on Thursday, but the trip was canceled after 172 passengers and six crew members boarded. Many more flights were canceled due to inclement weather.
“The guy couldn’t take it anymore,” said Bradon Goldner, a reporter for Charlotte’s WCNC who was in the emergency exit row. He crawled over us and opened the emergency exit to get away.”
The traveler was apprehended near the jet bridge, detained by American Airlines staff, and subsequently taken into arrest by Charlotte Mecklenburg police. The passengers boarded the plane after 40 minutes and deplaned. All customers were rebooked on alternate flights, according to American Airlines.
Many additional flights were also canceled that day due to severe weather in the midatlantic and northeast. Thousands of travelers were delayed as a result of this incident, which impacted numerous other planes. Over 1000 people were stranded at Charlotte Douglas due to AA alone.