An American Airlines flight from Tokyo to Dallas diverted to Seattle after a passenger became enraged that her in-seat power outlet stopped working and attempted to breach the flight deck after flight attendants were unable to fix the problem.
American Airlines 787 Diverts After Irate Passenger Pounds Flight Deck Door
The incident occurred onboard AA60 from Tokyo (NRT) To Dallas (DFW) on Wednesday. Waka Suzuki passed time by watching movies on her mobile phone. But about four hours into the flight her phone battery was nearing empty and she attempted to charge it. However, her power outlet was turned off (it is not clear why). She requested it be turned on but flight attendants were unable to turn it on.
Suzuki began screaming at flight attendants, becoming “increasingly hostile and belligerent.” Unable to fix the problem, Suzuki took matters into her own hands and rushed down the aisle (from her seat in economy class) and kept going until she reached the flight deck door in the front of the plane.
She proceeded to bang on the door and get the captain’s attention.
Suzuki was promptly restrained with plastic handcuffs and the captain declared a “Level Three Lockdown” which, per the FAA, means:
Weapon displayed/used, credible terrorist threats, credible bomb threats, or actual use of bombs, sabotage of aircraft systems, credible threats of hijacking, and deadly hand-to-hand techniques such as choking or eye gouging.
While that may have been overkill, the captain decided to divert to Seattle (SEA).
In Seattle, Suzuki, who was traveling with her mother for a 10 day holiday in Cancun, was arrested. She admitted to law enforcement that she had banged on the flight deck door, but claimed she only did so because the crew was “rude and dismissive” of her request.
The crew claimed that she elbowed and punched them, but she said that was only in reaction to them spitting on her while trying to subdue her. No alcohol or medication were involved.
There is no defending Suzuki’s actions, but I have to imagine the crew may have been dismissive of her. No offense to many of the wonderful flight attendants at American Airlines, but I can just see a senior DFW-based crew screaming at her slowly in English, as if she was a little child, and perhaps not even trying to address her power issue. With only 60 people onboard the flight, I’m not sure why she didn’t try a different seat, unless power was off for the entire cabin.
In any case, let’s all remember to treat others with respect today and when you are not treated with the respect you deserve, the answer isn’t to cause a flight diversion…
(image: American Airlines // H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)