***Update on 07/09/2021 at 17:30 UTC – Added statement from American Airlines***
Law enforcement met an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Miami on Wednesday after a potential security threat. They immediately boarded the aircraft after its arrival in Miami, and all passengers were bussed to the terminal.
Despite being told not to film by the cabin crew, several videos of the incident have surfaced online. Passengers onboard flight 2289 were made to keep their hands on their heads and were asked not to film for around an hour before the flight landed. Both actions are unusual, with the crew apparently wanting to keep all passenger hands visible.
The viral videos have sparked curiosity as to what the security threat might have been. The airline has not disclosed what the danger was. However, upon arrival in Miami, passengers were removed from the plane and bussed to a terminal. Passengers then waited while police inspected the aircraft.
Some online reports suggest police boarded with guns and arrested a man. However, these reports have not been confirmed by the airline.
The arrest happened when 2289 landed in Miami (flight landed at 4:42 ET). Passengers were ordered to put their hands on their heads for 45-60 minutes before landing. Strangely, passengers were repeatedly told not to film on the plane. pic.twitter.com/rxInzwRi4a
— Chris Nguyen (@imaNguyener) July 8, 2021
American Airlines provided the following statement to Simple Flying:
“On July 7, American Airlines flight 2289, a Boeing 777-300 operating from Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA), was met by law enforcement upon landing at MIA due to a possible security threat on board. Passengers were deplaned and bused to the terminal, and the aircraft was inspected by authorities. Safety and security is our top priority and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this caused.”
A second security incident
American Airlines also had a security incident last month when a passenger on a flight to Cancun skipped airport security. In this case, the aircraft returned to Charlotte Douglas International Airport shortly after take-off, and the man was arrested.
In this week’s incident, the threat must have been identified much later as the plane continued to Miami as planned. The crew asked passengers to place their hands on their heads around one hour before landing suggesting the security threat was not identified early on.
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A difficult summer
The most recent incident comes amid calls for stricter punishments on unruly passengers. Although, in this case, it doesn’t appear to have been a disruptive passenger, most major US carriers are experiencing a surge in disruptive and violent behavior. Several airlines have confirmed that ongoing health and safety restrictions and longer-than-normal airport queues are causing tempers to rise.
The result is an increase in flight diversions and violent incidents. Many have called for harsher punishments and restrictions on people who cause incidents or pose a security threat. The FAA reports that violent incidents are increasing. Now, the FBI is working to decide whether people who cause incidents will be prosecuted as criminals.
Potential security threats, although often found to be false, can cause major issues. Each threat is taken seriously, meaning law enforcement is mobilized and, in some incidences, aircraft make an emergency landing or return to the point of origin. Even if a threat turns out to be false, legal action can be taken.
On 27th May this year, a man alleged there was a bomb on a Delta Air Lines flight in an attempt to prevent his daughter from flying. Although no bomb was ever found, the man faces up to fifteen years in prison for the bomb hoax. Most violent passengers face fines of up to $35,000 but rarely face prison time or have considerably lighter sentences.
What do you think of the situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.