12/08/2013 01:11 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2013

Tom Wagner Falls Asleep On Plane, Wakes Up Alone, Locked Inside

A man who fell asleep flying from Louisiana woke up at his layover in Houston, inside a dark, empty and locked plane.

Tom Wagner says that the United Express crew left him in the plane, even after he alerted authorities through his girlfriend, for more than 30 minutes, according to ABC News.

The fiasco started on Friday when he fell asleep in a window seat near the back of the airplane. When everyone deplaned at the layover, nobody woke Wagner up. He woke up in a pitch-black and cold cabin, and the aircraft doors were locked.

Luckily, his cell phone wasn't dead.

"I called my girlfriend, and she thought I was crazy. I said, 'Debbie I'm locked on the plane,'" he told ABC. "I said, 'I'm telling you the truth. You better go somewhere and get me off this plane."

Half an hour later, workers boarded the aircraft and rescued Wagner. He told KVEO that they wanted him to keep the incident quiet, and put him up in a nearby hotel and gave him a $250 flight voucher to make the ordeal go away.

United Express maintained that its crew did a post-flight walkthrough and issued this statement to the Examiner:

Express Jet is investigating to determine how this occurred, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused the passenger.