Last updated: 10:10 AM ET, Thu June 23 2016

Fighter Jets Escort Plane after Passenger Disturbance Onboard

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 23, 2016

Fighter Jets Escort Plane after Passenger Disturbance Onboard

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

On Wednesday, a Compass Airlines flight operating on behalf of Delta Air Lines was diverted to Arizona due to a verbal disturbance involving a passenger.

In response, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two F-16 fighters to intercept the commercial airplane and guide it safely until it landed at Tucson International Airport.

According to, Compass Airlines Flight 5720 was en route to Los Angeles International Airport from San Antonio, Texas, with 80 people onboard when the flight crew informed the captain and co-pilot of a disturbance with a passenger.

Shortly after the captain and co-pilot were informed of the incident, the plane was intercepted by the fighter jets. NORAD officials wouldn’t reveal details about the incident, but they said the incident met the criteria needed to launch two F-16s as a way to monitor the plane until it landed safely.

READ MORE: WATCH: Passenger Spots Fighter Jet Next to British Airways Plane

The Tucson Airport Authority Police reported that one of its officers, as well as an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, boarded the plane when it landed and handcuffed the suspect. The disruptive passenger was taken into federal custody due to the verbal disturbance, a FBI spokesperson told

All passengers were taken off the Compass Airlines plane and re-screened by Transportation Security Administration officers.

The official Twitter of Tucson International Airport updated passengers throughout the incident:


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