NEW YORK, N.Y. – A hollering, agitated passenger who ignored pleas to calm down spurred a pilot to divert a New York-to-Las Vegas JetBlue plane to Detroit over the weekend, according to the airline and a passenger’s video.
Flight 211 was headed west from New York’s Kennedy Airport when the passenger became unruly, and the captain decided to land in Detroit at around 8:30 a.m. Saturday out of “an abundance of caution,” JetBlue Airways Corp. said in statement Sunday.
FBI Detroit spokesman David Porter said it’s unknown whether the man will face criminal charges, but said the episode “did not rise to the level of threatening the aircraft.” He said, “Flight attendants were able to get a handle on the situation relatively quickly.”
Passengers said the outburst erupted suddenly.
“All of a sudden, this guy who was sleeping just woke up out of nowhere and started flipping out,” Mark Verity told ABC.
Passenger video obtained by ABC News shows a man in a window seat standing, gesticulating and shouting, his remarks unclear.
“Dad, stop it!” a female voice exclaims as the man lurches toward the aisle, where flight attendants subdued him and restrained him with plastic hand ties.
Authorities in Detroit took him into custody, JetBlue said. Porter said that he couldn’t discuss the man’s whereabouts Sunday but that he wasn’t in FBI custody.
After about two hours in Detroit, the plane went on to Las Vegas, arriving at around 11:30 a.m., JetBlue said.
The episode unfolded five days after a woman was nearly kicked off a JetBlue flight after her 3-year-old daughter urinated in her seat because the flight crew wouldn’t let her use the bathroom while the plane was on the tarmac in New York, according to an account the mother gave Boston’s WBZ-TV.
The woman, Jennifer Deveraux, said that when she got up to clean the mess, a flight attendant reported her to the pilot, who announced that the Boston-bound plane was returning to the gate to bring an out-of-order passenger to security officials. She said she ultimately was allowed to stay aboard.
JetBlue later apologized, she said; the airline said employees would undergo sensitivity training, the station reported.
It has been a busy few days for airplane mishaps. A Florida-to-Connecticut JetBlue flight was diverted to Kennedy on Sunday after a mechanical warning light went on, and an Allegiant Air flight Friday from Las Vegas to Missoula, Montana, landed in West Wendover, Nevada, because of a hydraulic system warning light. Both planes landed safely, with no injuries.
A Delta Air Lines ramp worker was injured Friday evening responding to an engine fire in a plane parked at New York’s LaGuardia Airport after all its passengers had disembarked; the airline said the worker was doing well.