American Airlines flight forced to divert after passenger tries to open cockpit door
An unruly passenger attempted to enter the cockpit of an American Airlines plane on Sunday, forcing the scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to divert to Kansas City.
“He’s trying to get in the cockpit,” the pilot told air traffic controllers. “We’ve got four passengers now trying to contain this gentleman.”
According to accounts from those on board, passengers held the man and eventually a flight attendant used a coffee pot to subdue him as the plane descended.
“We have two armed people on board that are securing him right now,” the pilot explained.
American Airlines said in a statement that “the flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival.”
“We’re grateful to our crew members, who are consistently dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism,” the airline added.
The FBI in Kansas City confirmed the man had been taken into custody, but was unable to comment further due to the “ongoing matter.”
Authorities have not released his identity.
Sunday’s incident is just the latest in a troubling spike of unruly passenger cases with airlines reporting a staggering 6,375 reports of misconduct to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since January 2021.
The agency is still enforcing its zero-tolerance policy for in-flight disruptions which could lead to fines as high as $52,500 and up to 20 years in prison.
In November, the FAA revealed some unruly passengers could start to face criminal prosecution after establishing an information-sharing protocol with the Department of Justice.