Fighter jets escort plane after passenger tries to sit in first class

Nick Mcbride
May 29, 2017

Uskanil retrieved the laptop - scowling, Basden's companion said. Flight attendants asked him to return to his seat and he refused, the source said.

Among the first to board were first class passengers Mark and Donna Basden, who found a laptop computer in a seat pocket in front of them.

The Basdens say everything was fine until midway through the flight.

About halfway through the six-hour flight, the Basdens saw the same man, holding his laptop, with something over his head, which they thought was a towel or a blanket.

Later, onboard the flight, Uskanil tried to get to the cockpit door but was stopped by one of the flight attendants jamming her serving cart in the doorway that separates the first class from coach.

FBI special agent Paul Delacourt said Uskanil could face federal charges for interference with a flight crew, according to CNN. A contractor spotted him and detained him until authorities arrived. The 25-year-old had been drinking, airport police explained in a statement, but wasn't drunk.

Uskanil was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing in that incident, but was still allowed to board his flight to Honolulu.

"The flight attendants just were really heroic", Mr Lorenzen said.

"It took seconds", Lee Lorenzen, of Orange County, California, told HNN.

A flight attendant reportedly became concerned about Uskanil's behaviour and proceeded to block the aisle with a drinks cart, telling him "you're not coming in here".

Passenger Allison Forberger, an eyewitness who lives in Kapolei, Hawaii, was seated right behind first class.

The man pushed the cart, trying to get through, but passengers came up behind him and grabbed him.

A U.S. passenger flight had to be escorted by two fighter planes when a Turkish man was handcuffed to his seat after trying to sit in first class.

The passenger was restrained by fellow fliers, including an off-duty Honolulu police officer.

The department "is prepared to assist other federal and local law enforcement agencies as they investigate the incident".

Federal Bureau of Investigation have not yet stated what charges the man faces, although it is likely he will be charged with "interfering with a flight crew", which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

American Airlines aircraft sit on the tarmac at LaGuardia airport in NY. Flight 31 was due to land in Honolulu at noon local time.

The flight was on its way from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Friday when there was a disturbance.

"We continue to monitor all flights out of an abundance of caution", The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

Other reports by VgToday

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