Just one month after the Federal Aviation Administration was happy to report a 50 percent drop in incidents in the first two weeks of 2022 compared to the same time period last year, unruly fliers are still in the headlines.
An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. was diverted to Kansas City on Sunday due to a disruptive passenger. An eyewitness told CNN that a man tried to break into the cockpit and also attempted to open the cabin door during the flight.
In a statement provided to the news outlet, American Airlines said: "American Airlines flight 1775 with service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) diverted to Kansas City (MCI) due to an unruly passenger. The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival. We're grateful to our crew members, who are consistently dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism."
Interfering with a flight crew is a federal crime, and jurisdiction over the case was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI also provided a statement to CNN saying "The flight was diverted due to an unruly passenger interfering with the flight crew. The individual has been taken into custody. No further information is available at this time."
A flight attendant apparently hit the disruptive man over the head with a coffee pot, and several passengers rushed to help hold the man down.
While the first two weeks of the year might have started well and given hope that these incidents were dissipating in the two years since the pandemic began, it now doesn't appear to be the case.
In the calendar year 2021, the FAA reported 5,891 incidents of unruly airline passengers. Through the first six weeks of 2022, there have been almost 400 incidents, which extrapolates to more than 3,400 for the year - a significant decrease but still way more than the FAA handled pre-pandemic.
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