In a statement to Sputnik Thursday, American Airlines explained that the unidentified handler, who was working for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of the American Airlines Group, was helping out with the Chicago-bound flight at Kansas City International Airport on Saturday before things went south (er, northward).
"A Piedmont Airlines employee, who was working an American Airlines flight on the morning of Oct. 27 at Kansas City International Airport (MCI), inadvertently fell asleep in the forward cargo hold of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft," American Airlines said. "The flight subsequently took off with the team member in the cargo hold, which was heated and pressurized."
The airline employee caught some Z's for more than an hour before he was eventually discovered by airport staff in the Windy City. It wasn't until Chicago police interviewed the sleepy handler that he revealed that alcohol had played a role in the matter, Anthony Guglielmi, spokesperson for Chicago PD, told news station WGN9.
No charges were filed over the mishap, and the handler was later sent back to Kansas City. He did not suffer any injuries during his travels in the cargo area.
Though it's unclear if American Airlines will take any disciplinary action, the Texas-headquartered airliner did indicate that they would be launching their own investigation into the incident.
"The American team is very concerned about this serious situation, and we are reviewing what transpired with our Piedmont and Kansas City colleagues," the statement concluded.