A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to divert Friday after an “unruly passenger” got ahold of the plane’s public announcement system and told passengers to get back in their seats, saying oxygen masks would deploy soon.
On Monday, Delta spokesman Eric Zeugschmidt confirmed the passenger was an off-duty Delta flight attendant and inactive employee who had been on leave before incident. Zeugschmidt said Delta is taking the matter very seriously and working with authorities to reach the employee’s emergency contacts.
Over the weekend, Zeugschmidt said crew and passengers helped detain the man on Delta Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and the aircraft landed “without incident” in Oklahoma City, where the man was taken into custody by law enforcement.
Flight diverted:Delta Air Lines flight forced to divert after ‘unruly passenger’ reportedly tried to breach cockpit
Record travel numbers:TSA screens more than 2 million on Friday for the first time since the pandemic hit
The plane arrived in Atlanta around 5:09 a.m. on Saturday, four hours later than scheduled, according to Delta’s website.
“We apologize to our customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this caused,” Zeugschmidt said via email.
The incident is just the latest in an uptick of unruly passengers, which has forced a crackdown by the Federal Aviation Administration as travel volumes pick up. The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million people for the first time since the onset of the pandemic on Friday.
Earlier this month, a passenger on Delta flight from L.A. to Nashville reportedly tried to breach the cockpit, forcing the plane to divert to New Mexico, airport officials in Albuquerque said. And last month, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant ended up in the hospital after a passenger punched her in the face.
Some airlines, including Southwest and American, have delayed plans to start selling alcoholic drinks in the wake of the high-profile incidents and calls by flight attendant unions to limit alcohol sales on board. Delta has been serving alcohol in regular economy since mid-April.
Contributing: Eve Chen, USA TODAY