Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
JetBlue flight 915 from New York JFK to San Francisco was forced to divert to Minneapolis on Sunday after an anti-masker passenger sat up the front in Mint Business Class was accused of harassing a female seatmate, abusing flight attendants and snorting what was believed to be Cocaine.
Most of the passengers didn’t know why the Airbus A321 aircraft had to make a stop off in Minneapolis, and the Captain refused to provide many details apart from an assurance that it wasn’t due to a technical problem with the plane.
Once on the ground, and after law enforcement had removed the suspect, the Captain became a lot more open, taking to the PA and addressing the entire plane from the front of the Economy cabin. Matt Kawashima, who was a passenger on the flight, posted a video of the Captain’s explanation of events on Twitter:
“There was a man annoying another passenger and unwanted touching, possibly inadvertent, maybe intentional, unknown,” the pilot explains. “Multiple trips to the bathroom,” he says of the man’s behaviour. “The flight attendants were able to move that passenger so she felt more comfortable.”
“After several more ‘put on your mask, put on your mask, put on your mask’ bathroom trips, he started antagonizing other passengers, and made knife stabbing motions at another passenger,” the Captain says to sounds of shock from the other passengers.
“He was also observed (displaying) erratic behavior and snorting a white substance. Activity towards the flight attendants and other passengers, more than two… it became more than two, (passengers) felt threatened by his abusive language and the actions I’ve already told you,”
“The viewing of the snorting of the white substance, when he went to the bathroom, they picked up his tray table, the garbage around his area was discovered a bag with a white substance in it.”
Based on all that had happened onboard, the Captain said that the flight attendants and other passengers sat in Business Class didn’t feel comfortable flying the rest of the way to San Francisco with the suspect onboard so they made the decision to put down the plane at the nearest passenger airport which happened to be Minneapolis.
As well as facing the prospect of possible criminal charges, the passenger is also likely to be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which is taking a zero-tolerance approach to anti-maskers and disruptive passengers.
Last week, the FAA said it would fine another jetBlue passenger $9,000 for becoming abusive towards flight attendants and the Captain while boarding a flight at Newark airport.
The FAA has reminded passengers that a federal face mask mandate remains in force through September, whether passengers are fully vaccinated or not.
Photo Credit: Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.