Passengers onboard a jetBlue flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles had to be evacuated shortly after their arrival in California after a disgruntled customer who missed the flight made a bomb threat against the plane.
JetBlue flight 879 departed Las Vegas at around 1:10 pm on Thursday and arrived without incident in Los Angeles just 45 minutes later. But instead of taxiing to the gate, the pilots were sent to an isolated ‘penalty box’ where the aircraft was intercepted by law enforcement.
Air traffic control recordings indicate that the pilots initially had no idea that a bomb threat had been made against the aircraft, and one crew member asked: “Uh, why are we holding up here?”
An air traffic controller responded: “I can’t tell you right this moment; they are working on something concerning your aircraft, so standby”.
A short time later, it was revealed that a bomb threat had been phoned in against the plane. A set of steps was driven to the front left-hand cabin door so that passengers could then be evacuated from the aircraft.
Sniffer dogs were sent in, and after a more than two-hour search, the aircraft and all the luggage were given the all-clear.
Las Vegas police say they have taken enforcement action against the man who is accused of calling in the bomb threat.
It’s alleged that the suspect was meant to be a passenger on the plane, but he became disgruntled when he missed his flight and told officials that his luggage (which had been loaded on the aircraft) possibly contained a bomb.
A similar incident occurred on a jetBlue flight in 2021 when a passenger got to the gate at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport only to realize her plane to Chicago had already started to taxi for takeoff without her.
The woman allegedly screamed that there was a bomb in her luggage which had been loaded on the flight. The threat was enough to get the plane to return to the gate, but it resulted in the passenger being arrested while the entire aircraft had to be searched.
Airlines in the United States are not required to ‘offload’ someone’s luggage if they miss their flight on a domestic service.
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.