Disorderly Man Aboard LAX Flight Is Disorderly, Military Scrambles Fighter Jet Escorts
On Friday, officials in the U.S. Air Force scrambled two F-22 fighter jets to escort an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, aboard which a Turkish passenger had grown especially disorderly—apparently enough to be considered a risk to national security. When the airplane landed safely in Hawaii, FBI agents detained and arrested 25-year-old Anil Uskanil, according to Reuters.
Passengers report how, midway through the flight, Uskanil attempted to force his way into the first class cabin with a laptop computer clutched to his chest, and a blanket draped over his head. As the Washington Post reports, a flight attendant saw him coming and said "You're not coming in here." She advanced to the aircraft's bulkhead, blocked the aisle with a drink cart, and continued saying "Sir, please stop. Sir, I need you to go back to your seat."
Evidently, Uskanil didn't want to return to his seat. As the flight attendant blocked the aircraft's aisle with her cart, other passengers grabbed Uskanil and forcibly returned him to his seat in the back of the aircraft, in row 35. Though KTLA reports Uskanil did not resist the other passengers taking him back to the seat, the passengers and flight crew duct-taped him to his seat, where he stayed for the remainder of the flight.
Because of Uskanil's disorderly conduct, the U.S. Pacific Command dispatched a pair of F-22 fighter jets to escort the American Airlines flight to Honolulu. As a spokesman explained to Reuters, "the F-22s escorted the airliner to the airport in accordance with homeland defense procedures." When the aircraft landed, federal agents boarded the plane and took Uskanil into custody.
Coincidentally, Uskanil's Friday afternoon arrest in Hawaii was his second arrest of the day. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Uskanil was arrested In the wee hours of Friday morning, and cited by Los Angeles Airport Police for opening a door that led to the LAX tarmac. At around 2:45 on Friday morning, an airport contractor spotted Uskanil opening the door, and detained him until LAX Airport Police arrived. Uskanil reportedly said that he had been drinking, and had lost his way about inside the airport.
Uskanil was cited with misdemeanor trespassing for the first incident, though was cleared to fly on the morning flight to Honolulu. Charges for his disorderly conduct in the skies have not yet been formally filed, however an FBI agent told reporters that charges are likely.
Just think, the last time I flew from LAX to Honolulu, the most notable thing that happened was the large man in front of me who immediately reclined his seat all the way back, and then argued with the flight-attendant when he requested the man return his seat back to the upright position for takeoff.