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American Airlines flight diverted due to “unruly passenger”

An American Airlines flight headed from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. landed Sunday in Kansas City instead. The flight was diverted because of an unruly passenger who tried to open a door, the flight attendant’s union said in a statement. 

The flight landed safely around 2:30 p.m. local time and crew requested that law enforcement meet the flight, the airline said. The passenger was “subdued by our crew and with the help of other passengers,” the airline said. 

The FBI Kansas City said in a statement that the individual was taken into custody. 

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants tweeted that the passenger tried to open the  forward passenger door. 

NEW YORK – AUGUST 24 : A Boeing 737-A23 operated by American Airlines takes off from JFK Airport on August 24, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“This violent behavior must stop,” Association of Professional Flight Attendants tweeted Sunday night. “APFA will continue to collaborate with other Flight Attendant and Customer Service Agent Unions, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Congress to ensure these offenders are prosecuted to the full extent of the law with appropriate fines, criminal penalties, and applicable flying bans.” 

Airlines have reported an increase in disruptive passenger behavior since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the FAA received more than 5,500 reports of unruly behavior. Nearly 400 more incidents have been reported so far in 2022, according to the administration.

To cope, airlines have added passengers their own, internal ban lists and Delta Airlines has called for the companies to share those individual lists, different from the federal no-fly list. And the Transportation Security Administration and the FAA have warned that disruptive passengers could lose TSA pre-check privileges

The FAA initiated investigations into nearly 1,100 incidents last year, and another 93 this year. The agency has requested more than $160,000 in civil fines against disruptive passengers.



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