TODAY   |  March 22, 2013

Passenger accused of impersonating airline pilot

Air France passenger, French citizen Philippe Jennard, 60, allegedly talked his way into the cockpit of during a flight by claiming to be a pilot. He has been charged with multiple crimes, including trespassing and impersonating a private employee. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

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>>> a potential security breach on the runway at philadelphia international airport to tell you about a this morning. man arrested for impersonating a pilot while boarding a flight to florida. pete williams is our justice correspond correspondent. what can you tell us?

>> as far as they it kel this did not appear to be a threat to the plane but they are pursuing charges nonetheless and trying to figure out exactly why it happened. police accuse a 60-year-old man from france, felipe genarre of pretending to be a 747 pilot for air france . on wednesday he was a ticketed passenger for a flight from philadelphia to west balm beach , florida. at the gate he was wearing what appeared to be part of an air france uniform and demanding an upgrade to business class but he was turned down. on the plane as it continued to board he talked his way into the cockpit and said he was a pilot who wanted to sit in one of its jump seats, but the crew became suspicious.

>> he was able to realize quickly there was some questioning and observations.

>> reporter: philadelphia police have charged him with trespass, impersonating a private employee and having a false i.d.

>> concerning and obviously a response was made by the co-pilot and boarding agent, so at no point was the flight ever going to take off until they dealt with the situation.

>> reporter: federal authorities may also file charges later this morning. they're still not certain what his motive was, whether he was disturbed or just trying to get a better seat.

>> pete williams in washington, there are better ways to go about that. thanks very much.