A Frontier Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa was forced to make an emergency diversion after a passenger was found in possession of a box cutter and allegedly threatened passengers and flight attendants with the weapon.
Box cutters, along with knives and razor blades were banned on U.S. commercial jets after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) was formed in the wake of the atrocity.
Frontier flight F9-1761 departed Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport at 7:39 pm on Friday but made an emergency landing at Atlanta Hartsfield just over an hour ago after the alarm was raised.
A spokesperson for Atlanta Airport was quoted by some media outlets as saying that a passenger was spotted with a box cutter who then threatened to stab other passengers and the flight attendants.
Twitter user @onytiamorgan shared a screen grab of what purports to be video surveillance footage of the caucasian male suspect being taken into custody by local law enforcement on the jet bridge.
Morgan wrote: “I’m at work and a flight gets diverted here from cincinnati due to a passenger threatening everyone on the plane with a box cutter”.
The box cutter was found by police shortly after the suspect was taken into custody.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “The aircraft landed safely in Atlanta and the passenger in question was taken into custody by Atlanta law enforcement”.
Although the door to the cockpit is now bullet and blastproof, pilots and other aviation professionals remain concerned that the flight deck is vulnerable to attack whenever the door has to be opened inflight (such as when the pilot needs to use the lavatory).
Pilot unions in the United States have been pushing for secondary cockpit doors to be made a mandatory requirement, although a current rulemaking working its way through the system would only apply to new planes.
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.