A man was arrested at Palm Beach International Airport after police found him inside the cockpit of US Airways posing as a pilot.
According to the Palm Beach Post, federal charges could be filed against the impostor, Philippe Jernnard, for impersonating a pilot and trespassing.
Philippe Jernnard had a airline ticket for a flight taking off before 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20. He asked the woman at the gate to be upgraded to business class, but she refused after telling him that the section was full. “He became irate and told her he hated Americans,” police spokeswoman Christina O’Brien said.
The two continued to argue, but he eventually got inside the plane. When the same crew woman boarded the flight, she went to deliver a message to the pilot before takeoff and saw Philippe in the cockpit behind the pilot!
Officials have said that the 61-year-old con artist identified himself as a pilot for 747 Air France, but he was exposed as a fake after he failed to show the proper credentials. Police say that Philippe was wearing a pilot uniform and a fake Air France ID card. The flight he was on was scheduled to go from Philadelphia to West Palm Beach.
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On its Twitter page, Air France tweeted to the media saying, “FYI, this person does not work for AirFrance and Was not wearing one of our uniform and badge (it was a very bad fake certificate).”
The police said that no passengers were in danger at the time of takeoff once the impostor was apprehended.
Jernnard may be facing charges of fraud and trespassing onto an aircraft. The impersonator is being held at $1 million bail as the FBI and US Attorney’s Office continue to investigate the matter. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 5. He was forced to surrender his passport.