A London man running late for his flight reported a fake bomb threat to try and delay it, police said.
Rashidul Islam, 32, was going to meet his fiancee in Marrakech, but had issues with public transport on the way to his flight out of Gatwick and worried he would miss it, according to a statement from Sussex police on Friday.
He then allegedly decided to anonymously call the police and report a fake bomb threat.
"EasyJet flight 8897 leaves in 40 minutes ... There may be a bomb on the plane, you need to delay it, you need to stop it now," Islam told the operator, according to police.
Passengers and crew on the flight were evacuated and held in a gate room as authorities investigated.
EasyJet could not be reached for comment.
When Islam arrived at the airport to check-in, police realized his number matched the one from the anonymous call, according to authorities.
He was taken into custody and admitted to making the fake threat, police said.
Islam pleaded guilty to the offense on Friday in Lewes Crown Court and was sentenced to 16 months in jail. He has also been banned from Gatwick Airport.
"While the defendant expressed remorse, there is no excuse for his actions that day and he has been sentenced accordingly," Sussex Police Detective Constable Stephen Trott said in a statement.
Trott noted that making a false report does more than just cause significant costs and delays to the airport and passengers. "It also strikes fear into the community," he said.
The flight eventually took off at 8:45 p.m. local time, about three hours after its initial departure time.