An Alaska Airlines flight taking off from Seattle on Monday 13 April 2015 was forced to turn back for an emergency landing after banging and screaming was heard from the hold.
The flight was heading for Los Angeles, but returned to Sea-Tac International Airport after just 14 minutes, said a report on Buzzfeed.
Once on the ground, the airport worker was found inside the pressurised and temperature-controlled front cargo hold, Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
He appeared to be all right, but was taken to hospital as a precaution, the airline said.
The worker, an employee of Menzies Aviation, later said he had fallen asleep in the cargo hold.
The airline said it was "actively investigating the matter".