A group of Delta Air Lines passengers were held on their plane for over three hours after arriving at their destination following a “credible threat” security alert made against the aircraft. The threat prompted a full-scale emergency response as local enforcement and FBI agents searched the plane for a suspicious device.
Delta flight DL1223 from Atlanta to Jacksonville departed at around 11:25 pm on Friday night and landed just after 12:30 am on Saturday morning. Passengers weren’t allowed to deplane the aircraft until 3:30 am and were initially told that a maintenance issue was delaying them from getting to their gate.
A spokesperson for Jacksonville airport said that a threat had been received by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at around 12:20 am on Saturday morning and a decision was made to send the plane to an isolated part of the airport immediately after arrival.
A local bomb squad, along with K9 units were dispatched to the scene along with FBI agents. Around an hour after landing, the pilot told the passengers the real reason why they were being delayed and shortly afterwards around 30 police officers boarded the plane to conduct a search.
Passengers eventually started to be deplaned at 3:30 am but were then subjected to further searches and questioning in the Customs area. it wasn’t until 4:45 am that passengers were released from the airport with their bags, News 4 Jax reports.
Normal airport operations only resumed nearly five hours after the emergency was first declared.
In a statement, the FBI said it was investigating the incident but declined to provide further details about the threat. No suspicious item was found during the search.
The aircraft involved departed from Jacksonville as scheduled at around 8:00 am on Saturday morning. Delta did not immediately provide a statement about the incident.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.