Airport employee nips out for lunch in stair-car
The Southwest Airlines vehicle was spotted outside a pizza restaurant near to New York's La Guardia airport on Saturday.
The car-cum-staircase bears a special Port Authority licence plate, which means it is only permitted to be driven on airport property.
The worker's actions have drawn criticism from both the DMV (the US equivalent of the DVLA) and the Port Authority.
Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman, said: "This is not acceptable behaviour. We will immediately begin to identify the offending vehicle and driver and will take appropriate action," reported the Daily Mail.
However, the airline involved has defended its employee, and accused the New York Post of taking the photo out of context.
Company spokeman Chris Mainz explained to USAToday that the employee in question was responsible for maintenance of ground vehicles for the airline and was taking the vehicle to company offices near the airport.
Mainz said: "He was simply taking the equipment to their office for their standard upkeep and standard maintenance.
"So nothing out of the ordinary. It (the stair car) had all the proper plates and tags they need to do so. He certainly was not going to get pizza."
Stair cars will be familiar to fans of the US TV show Arrested Development, in which the lead character Michael Bluth uses one as a daily driver after being forced to sell the accompanying jet to settle his debts.