You may have read the headlines when they came out: A couple and their dog used the emergency exit of a Delta plane at LaGuardia Airport. What made the story particularly newsworthy, at least for travel geeks, is that they decided to make their exit while the plane was taxiing. Apparently, they opened the emergency exit, engaged the emergency slide and used the slide to leave the plane.
The passengers who left so abruptly were Antonio Murdock, 31, and Brianna Greco, 23, both from Florida. The dog was an 8-month-old Great Dane named Rain. According to another passenger who spoke to the New York Times on the day of the event, before they decided to leave so abruptly, the two had changed seats several times, despite being told by a flight attendant to remain seated.
“If I sit down, I’ll freak out,” Murdock said, as per his fellow passenger. “I need to get off the plane,” he exclaimed a few moments later. A flight attendant also heard him say that he was going to “pop the door” and that he would “spazz out” if he did not get off.
Murdock, who said he had a history of PTSD, did indeed “pop the door.”
The plane, of course, was stopped almost immediately and went back to the gate. All the passengers were deplaned and put on alternate flights. The plane was checked by maintenance technicians before being put back into service later that evening.
Murdock and Greco were quickly apprehended on the tarmac. Murdock was charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment according to a complaint filed in Queens Criminal Court. Both he and Greco also faced charges of criminal trespass.
Murdock was seen at Queens Criminal Court the next day. The NY Post reported him saying that he had suffered a panic attack. “I asked them three or four times to let me off. They said they were stopping the plane and they never stopped the plane, and I got to the point where I was just feeling dizzy.”
“I didn’t even know there was a slot to go down the slide,” Murdock continued. “I just thought it was a regular door. I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. I wasn’t doing a criminal act.”
He was released without bail and with an order of protection to stop him from contacting the flight attendant who had told him to be seated. Not long after his release, he and Greco picked Rain up from the Animal Care Center.
As per authorities, Murdock and Greco’s exit from the plane caused over $170,000 in damages to the Airbus A321.
Feature Photo: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary