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Police have arrested a French national after he allegedly posed as an airline pilot and gained access to the cockpit on a US Airways flight.
In a plan worthy of a scene from Leonardo DiCaprio's film "Catch Me If You Can", a man posing as a pilot managed to get past security and into the cockpit of a US Airways flight at Philadelphia Airport.
The incident happened Wednesday after French national Philippe Jernnard was allegedly denied an upgrade to business class for his flight to Palm Beach, Florida, Fox News reported.
"He had an Air France shirt. He had an Air France bag. He had some identification that looked like he was a crew member from Air France," Philadelphia police Capt. Michael Murphy told the station.
But Jernnard, 61, was caught soon after entering the cockpit when a flight attendant recognized him from her encounter with him in the airport lounge and alerted the co-pilot, Philadelphia police said Friday, CNN reported.
He was charged with trespass, impersonating a public servant and lying to police.
According to reports, Jernnard is a retired winemaker who was on a layover from France. There was no indication he was intoxicated.
The flight attendant who spotted Jernnard in the cockpit said he was clad in a white button-down shirt with an Air France logo on the breast and a black jacket with gold-striped epaulets on each shoulder, said police spokeswoman Officer Christina O’Brien, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Jernnard was found with a counterfeit Air France ID card when he was arrested.
Air France said in a statement the man was not one of its employees and was not wearing the airline’s uniform.
Jernnard was jailed on $1 million bail pending a preliminary hearing on April 5.