Just Because You’re Wearing Epaulets & An Air France T-Shirt Doesn’t Mean You’re A Real Pilot

Ugh, this guy is gonna ruin wearing Air France T-shirts and black leather jackets with epaulets for everybody: Pilots on a U.S. Airways flight were pretty sure a French man wearing the aforementioned ensemble wasn’t a pilot when he plunked down in a cockpit seat. Good catch, everyone.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says it all started when the 60-year-old man approached the boarding attendant on duty for a flight from Philadelphia International Airport to West Palm Beach, and asked if any business class seats were available. He was reportedly dressed in a white Air France T-shirt and a black leather jacket with epaulets on the shoulders.

He and the boarding attendant got into some sort of fight, after which he boarded the plane and headed for the cockpit. Officials say he plopped down in the jump seat behind the captain’s chair, at which point the copilot asked him for paperwork that he didn’t have, although he allegedly claimed to be a 747 pilot with Air France.

The boarding attendant spotted him and joined the copilot in telling him to skedaddle back to the cabin. They called the police, who subsequently arrested the man. Officials say he removed the epaulets before his arrest, but the cops found them on the scene along with a fake Air France crew member ID card.

It’s unclear whether he was plotting anything bad or was just confused, say cops, but the fact that he tried to impersonate a pilot while on a plane was “definitely concerning.”

He’s been charged with criminal trespass, tampering with records, impersonating a privately employed person, and presenting a false ID to law enforcement. Air France said in a Twitter statement that the man doesn’t work for the airline and that his ID card was “a very bad fake.”

Man charged with impersonating a pilot at Philly airport [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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