Flight From Florida Forced to Divert Over Security Issue Involving ‘Unruly’ Passenger

The American Airlines flight was intended for D.C. but was forced to be diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport because of an "unruly" passenger.

American Airlines plane is pictured at airport

Image via Getty/DANIEL SLIM/AFP

American Airlines plane is pictured at airport

An American Airlines flight from Florida was forced to divert due to a security issue involving an “unruly” passenger.

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said in a social media update on Wednesday night that he had been briefed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the diversion, the cause of which he described as a “Level 4 disruption.”

The flight departed from Jacksonville, Florida and was intended to land in Washington D.C. However, according to a First Coast News report citing an individual whose daughter was on the flight, a woman in the first class section of the plane ultimately “made a fuss” about free drinks.

As a result, the flight was diverted to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. Notably, the aforementioned Level 4 distinction means that the individual—who was taken into law enforcement custody after the diverted flight landed—may have attempted an “actual breach of the flight deck.”

View this video on YouTube


When reached for comment by Complex on Thursday, an American Airlines rep confirmed the person was “removed” from the flight.

“American Eagle flight 3444 from Jacksonville, FL (JAX) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) diverted to Raleigh-Durham (RDU) due to a security concern involving an unruly customer,” the airline rep said in an email. “Upon arrival, the flight was met by local law enforcement where the customer was removed from the aircraft. Safety and security are our top priorities, and we thank our customers for their cooperation and our team members for their professionalism in managing a difficult situation.”

In a separate statement shared with Complex, the FAA confirmed it was investigating the incident.

“Envoy Air Flight 3444 diverted and landed safely at Raleigh–Durham International Airport in North Carolina around 3:40 p.m. local time Wednesday, Feb. 22, due to a passenger disturbance,” a rep said. “The Embraer E170 was flying from Jacksonville International Airport in Florida to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The FAA will investigate.”

According to FBI officials in Charlotte, per FOX 5 DC, federal charges are also possible.

Complex has also reached out to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport for additional comment. This story may be updated.

Latest in Life