A woman barged through an emergency exit and ran onto the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Monday night in order to wave down a Southwest Airlines plane that was still parked at the gate.
The woman, who has not been identified, was eventually detained by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and taken into custody.
Although the woman had a ticket, it remains unclear as to whether she had missed her flight and was taking extreme measures in order to get onboard the plane. In one video taken by a witness from inside the terminal, the woman continues trying to wave at the cockpit even as an airline employee grapples with her.
Witness Tezlyn Figaro who shared footage of the incident on Twitter said she was surprised with how gentle the LAPD were with the woman.
“Wow, I’m sitting here at @flyLAXairport @SouthwestAir & this white young lady runs out the door & on the tarmac trying to wave a plane down. It seems like it took the police forever to get here. If she were Black, she would be shot (with no questions asked),” Figaro wrote in one post.
In one video shot by Figaro, police officers can be seen searching the woman’s belongings. In another, the woman is seen tussling with an airline employee who tries to get her away from the Boeing 737 aircraft.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the LAPD said the woman triggered an alarm as soon as she opened the exit door inside of Terminal 1.
“Airline employees who witnessed the woman exiting the terminal followed security protocols and maintained visual contact until the airport police arrived shortly thereafter and detained the woman,” the statement explained.
In August, a man managed to jump a wire fence at LAX and then snuck onto an American Airlines plane which was parked in a secure area. Luckily, a team of cleaners were on the aircraft and quickly alerted the police to the intruder.
And in June, a driver crashed through a gate at the airport and led police on a chase across two active runways that were being used by planes to take off and land.
In the same month, a man activated an emergency exit on a taxiing aircraft and jumped onto the tarmac before being quickly detained by police.
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.