A Frenchman has been arrested for impersonating a pilot after he was discovered inside a passenger jet cockpit as it was about to leave Philadelphia airport.

Philippe Jennard was caught in a real-life Catch me if you Can situation. He was wearing a white shirt bearing an Air France logo and a black jacket with pilot shoulder epaulettes.

He was carrying a fake Air France crew ID card and is believed to have told flight attendants that he was a bona fide 747 pilot with the airline.

In the 2002 film Catch me if you Can, Leonardo DiCaprio's character poses as a pilot for Pan American World Airways and forges pay cheques from the company.

Jennard, 61, was found in the jumpseat in the cabin of an aircraft bound for Palm Beach, Florida.

When he was asked to produce credentials, he became argumentative and was escorted from the plane.

Airport police officer Christine O'Brien said Jennard had initially become upset at the gate when he was refused a request for an upgrade.

"The gate agent told [him] there was no space left in business class. He became irate," she said.

Lt John Walker told NBC Philadelphia: "[The attendant] just assumes he takes his seat in coach and when she goes in to inform the captain of the number of passengers on the flight that's when she recognises he's out of place."

Police charged Jennard with criminal trespass, tampering with records, impersonating a person privately employed and presenting false ID documents.

He is being held on bail of $1m (£650,000). The FBI is now investigating how Jennard got into the cockpit in the first place.