Passengers say man acted oddly before takeoff
The U.S. military on Friday scrambled two Air Force fighter jets to escort an American Airlines flight into Honolulu International Airport after a disturbance involving a Turkish passenger aboard the plane was reported, officials said.
Passenger video posted to Instagram shows him being taken into custody by federal agents when the plane landed.and then guided out in handcuffs.
Two passengers told CNN affiliate KITV a flight attendant blocked the man’s path with a serving cart as he headed toward the cockpit. The FBI arrested him after the plane landed safely.
American Airlines Flight 31, an Airbus A321 from Los Angeles to Honolulu, landed safety at 11:35 a.m. HST. He was arrested before dawn at Los Angeles International Airport for opening a door that led onto an airfield ramp, according to Los Angeles Airport Police, who provided Uskanil’s identity to The Associated Press.
They say Uskanil was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing and was given a date to appear in court.
An official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident told the AP that the passenger was subdued by a crew member and another passenger who was a retired law-enforcement officer. Passengers Mark and Donna Basden of Albuquerque, New Mexico, sat down in their first-class seats, and Mark found a laptop in the seat pocket. They said 25-year-old Uskanil, a ticketed passenger who had gone through TSA screening, was allegedly spotted by an alert contractor and detained.
The Los Angeles Airport Police Division confirms Uskanil was previously detained early Friday morning at LAX.
Uskanil then seemed to lunge towards the cockpit door, according to the source, and that’s when several passengers subdued him. “American is in touch with federal law enforcement”. She referred further questions to Federal Bureau of Investigation, saying “We’re still figuring out all the details”. US Pacific Command confirmed that an F-22 fighter aircraft stationed at Hickam AFB was sent to escort the American Airlines airliner to Honolulu.
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying there were no other reports of flight disruptions but they would “continue to monitor all flights out of an abundance of caution and will provide updates as necessary”.