Two passengers and a service dog aboard a Delta flight taxiing for take-off at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) decided to get off the plane by opening a door and deploying the emergency slide. Delta Air Lines flight number DL462 was taxing in preparation for departure to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL) Monday morning when a passenger got up and opened the cabin door. He then deployed the slide exiting the plane with his service dog and a female companion.
When asked about the incident, a spokesperson for Delta told FOX 5 NY the following:
“The aircraft returned to the gate where the remaining customers deplaned normally and were accommodated on alternate flights. Maintenance technicians have evaluated the aircraft and is scheduled to return to service this evening.”
According to the aircraft tracking website Flightradar24.com, the plane finally departed New York at 19:29, arriving in Atlanta at 21:27, more than nine hours late.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
According to the New York Post newspaper, 31-year-old Antonio Murdock told Port Authority Police that his post-traumatic stress disorder was triggered as the plane was taxiing towards the runway. He and his companion, 23-year-old Brianna Greco, were arrested following the incident.
A fellow passenger on the flight, Brian Plummer, told the New York Times newspaper that he saw the pair and their dog changed seats several times as the plane was preparing for departure. He then said that the male passenger suddenly shot up from his seat and opened the cabin door telling a flight attendant that he would freak out if he sits down.
The couple has been charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, and obstructing governmental administration. No one was injured during the incident, although it remains unclear about what happened with Murdock’s service dog.
This has happened before
This is not the first time someone had opened a cabin door and deployed the emergency slide with the most famous occurring ten years ago when a JetBlue flight attendant decided to exit the plane early at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). In this incident, the JetBlue employee announced his intentions over the public address system, saying that he had been involved in a dispute with a passenger on the plane. Once on the ground, he threw his tie in the air and walked away.
In February of 2018, a passenger aboard a flight departing Newark Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) deployed the emergency slide while the plane was still at the gate. When the police arrived to take the man into custody, he shouted that he did not belong on the plane as it was not his flight.
While it is good to know that passengers cannot open the door of a plane while it is in flight, nothing stops them from doing it while it is on the ground. Obviously, Mr. Murdock has some mental issues and should never have been allowed to fly.
As things stand, there is nothing to stop this from happening again. What do you think could be the answer to preventing incidents like this from happening? Please tell us what you think in the comments.