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By Andrea Lorenz
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Louisiana man flying to California woke up on a dark, empty plane parked at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston after sleeping through the call to exit the aircraft, officials said on Monday.
Tom Wagner was supposed to leave the plane in Houston last Friday and board a flight to California. Instead, he found himself locked inside the ExpressJet plane, which was operating as a United Express flight.
He called his girlfriend for help, according to an exclusive interview he gave to Houston television station KTRK.
"She thought I was crazy. I said ... 'I'm locked on the plane. I'm telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane'," Wagner told the broadcaster.
Ground staff servicing the airplane a few hours after it landed found and released Wagner, ExpressJet spokeswoman Samantha Harrison said.
Company policy requires the flight crew to do a final sweep of the cabin and the company was investigating how Wagner was left onboard, Harrison said.
"As part of post-flight procedures, our flight attendants are responsible for completing a walk-through on the aircraft," Harrison said in an email.
The company said in a statement: "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."
Wagner told KTRK the airline paid for a hotel in Houston and gave him a $250 voucher for his trouble.
(Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Andrew Hay)