A woman in Florida is in custody for faking medical problems aboard an American Airlines flight headed to Miami early Friday morning, police say.
After becoming airborne around 5:43 am, the captain flew the aircraft back to Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport around 6:26 am, according to Mike Wood, spokesperson for the Pensacola Police Department.
The captain had notified the flight tower about an unruly passenger, and the department, which also patrols the airport, was waiting on the ground for the commercial flight, Wood said.
Once on land, the woman refused to get off the plane although other passengers were removed.
"When we got on the ground, we figured out she was faking a medical condition in order to get a better seat," Wood said, noting that she eventually admitted in a conversation with police and the airplane captain that she was trying to get a bigger seat.
The plane took off again nearly two hours after its first travel attempt, Wood said.
No criminal charges have been filed against the woman who is protected under the Baker Act, a Florida law allows for temporary custody for people with mental illness who are unable to determine their need for treatment.
The woman's privacy and identity are also protected under HIPAA laws, Wood said.
While Wood speculates that police might not file charges against her because no crime was committed in their presence, he did say that the Federal Aviation Administration or American Airlines could press charges to recover expenses.