Unruly Passenger Forces Alaska Airlines A320 Back To Seattle

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An Alaska Airlines flight was forced to return to its destination this weekend after a passenger became unruly. The flight, taking off from Seattle-Tacoma and heading to Chicago, had to turn back just minutes into the flight and made a safe return to Sea-Tac.

Alaska A320
An Alaska A320 had to abandon its flight after a passenger became unruly. Photo: Getty Images

Abandoned flight

Flying in the middle of a pandemic is nerve-wracking enough, what with all the checks and health forms and mask-wearing going on. What’s not going to make anyone feel any better is getting death threats from another passenger onboard.

For an Airbus full of Chicago bound passengers, however, this is precisely what happened. Shortly after taking off on Saturday night, the planeload of passengers were subjected to what has to be one of the most terrifying incidents any passenger could imagine.

As reported in the Seattle Times, a fellow passenger, considerately wearing his mask, begins walking up the aisle of the aircraft saying,

“I will kill everybody on this plane unless you accept Jesus was a black man.”


Luckily for the other passengers, an off-duty policeman happened to be on board and quickly accosted the angry passenger, with the help of a couple of others. By this time, he was yelling repeatedly,

“Die in the name of Jesus.”

He continued to struggle and make threats to the passengers as the officer and others attempted to subdue him. Although the experience must have been terrifying for the passengers onboard, it seems that the passenger was not armed.

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A 40-minute flight to nowhere

Minutes after the incident began, the crew made an announcement that the plane was going to land at the nearest airport. As the situation had begun just minutes into the flight, that airport was right back at Sea-Tac.

Alaska Airlines flight 422 had taken off on time at 23:10 on Saturday night and was just eight minutes into the flight when the crew took the wise decision to abort the flight. The Airbus A320 proceeded to turn to the northwest, to pick up the approach path to SEA airport.

AS 422
Alaska Airlines flight 422 had a 40 minute flight to nowhere at all. Image: FlightRadar24.com

Around 30 minutes after it took off, N846VA was back on approach to Seattle airport. 10 minutes after that, it was taxiing to the gate, to be met by law enforcement. The passenger continued to be combative when police boarded the plane, and he was booked into King County Jail on suspicion of harassment.

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For the passengers, it was undoubtedly a relief to be back on the ground unharmed. Their flight was, unfortunately, canceled, but Alaska Airlines accommodated them on the next service to Chicago out of Seattle.

The law enforcement officer and passengers who tackled the disruptor are being hailed as heroes.

Were you onboard the Alaska Airlines flight 422? What would you do if this happened to you on your next trip? Let us know in the comments.

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