A Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to New York JFK was forced to divert to Detroit on Thursday night after a passenger created a “threat” to the aircraft. The incident occurred less than a week after a Delta flight attendant was hailed a hero after he had to jump on and hogtie a disruptive passenger who tried to break into the flight deck on another flight from Los Angeles.
Onboard Delta flight DL1131 to JFK on Thursday evening was CBS This Morning Saturday co-host Dana Jacobson who gave a blow-by-blow account of what was happening on board the Boeing 767.
“Security situation on delta flight lax to jfk. We just diverted to Detroit,” Jacobson tweeted. “Passenger telling me it was a drunk passenger in the back of the plane, out of control drinking from a bottle. The woman next to her according to this passenger finally had enough & went to get the flight attendants.”
After diverting to Detroit Metro Airport, passengers were deplaned while law enforcement dealt with the incident at the back of the plane. Eventually, the passenger was wheeled out on a gurney, followed by law enforcement.
In a video posted by Jacobson on Twitter, the agitated passenger can be heard shouting: “Did I get physical with anybody on the flight?”. She proceeds to swear at other passengers who were taking pictures and video of her.
“According to our pilot.. the passenger was unruly and creating a threat which was why we had to land,” Jacobson said in another tweet.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Delta described the incident as a “customer issue”.
“The customer was met by law enforcement upon landing. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience,” a statement from the airline continued.
It’s not known whether the passenger had been drinking from her own bottle although Delta is still serving alcohol onboard all of its flights. Both Southwest and American Airlines have delayed the resumption of alcohol service on domestic flights citing unruly passenger behavior while United has limited alcohol service to longer domestic services.
Sara Nelson, the head of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) has called for a federal ban on onboard alcohol service while the mask mandate remains in force but critics of that idea claim passengers will simply find other ways to drink.
In this case, it appears the passenger may have brought their own alcohol onboard and airport bars and restaurants remain open. In recent weeks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has detailed several high-profile incidents in which passengers have been fined for drinking their own alcohol onboard domestic U.S. flights in violation of federal law.
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 used by some of the biggest names in journalism.