Two days ago, on June 11th, a Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta had to make an unscheduled stop in Oklahoma City. The reason for the diversion was reportedly an off-duty flight attendant whose behavior had become abusive and violent. Passengers and crew were eventually able to restrain the offender, who was taken into custody.
The flight in question
Delta Air Lines flight DL1730 is a scheduled service that departs Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) four times a week. The flight, which operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays (according to data from RadarBox.com), has had a scheduled departure time of 17:45 since June 4th. Its destination is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
The service has a scheduled duration of four hours and 21 minutes. This gives a scheduled arrival time into Atlanta of 01:06 local time the following morning. Los Angeles-Atlanta is an important route for Delta, with its booking website showing 10 direct departures today. Other carriers on the route include American, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit.
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However, the aircraft that operated flight DL1730 on Friday, June 11th was the subject of a diversion, resulting in a considerable delay. Having left LAX 18 minutes late at 18:03 local time, CNN reports that an unruly off-duty flight attendant caused a scuffle in the sky.
The offender’s abusive behavior included physically assaulting two members of cabin crew. A Delta spokesperson told CNN that he also commandeered the intercom and threatened to “take the plane down.” With the help of some passengers, the crew eventually restrained the man, who was said to be wearing elbow and knee pads and a helmet, as if he was expecting such a fracas. Passengers were reportedly also told to prepare to put on oxygen masks.
Although the passenger had been subdued, his aforementioned serious threats about the flight’s fate prompted it to divert to Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC). The flight landed there at 23:28 local time, where the offender was taken into custody. This also involved a trip to hospital to treat some minor injuries sustained in the scuffle.
The plane, an Airbus A321 that Delta received two months ago (according to data from ch-aviation.com), spent nearly three hours on the ground in Oklahoma City. Passengers had to disembark to allow bomb technicians to sweep the aircraft. It eventually departed again at 02:11, arriving in Atlanta with a delay of just under four hours at 05:01.
Similar incidents earlier in the month
June has been difficult for Delta in terms of these kinds of incidents. Indeed, CNN lists a couple more since the month began. The first of these saw passengers and crew subdue a man who had attempted to enter the cockpit of a flight from Los Angeles to Nashville. This caused the flight to have to divert to Albuquerque, with the FBI being called.
More recently, a Delta flight between Los Angeles and New York diverted to Detroit due to a disruptive passenger earlier this week. Although the offender was cited for disorderly conduct, a Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson stated that it seemed they “did not have any criminal intent.” They added that a “medical issue” may have caused the disruption.
What do you make of this incident? Have you ever witnessed anything similar? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.