An update to my story from my last week in which passengers onboard an American Airlines 777-300ER to Miami were forced to place their hands on their head and ordered not to take pictures for the final hour of the flight. We now have further details as to what happened onboard.
New Details: What Happened To Cause American Airlines Pilot To Order Passengers To Keep Hands On Head For The Last Hour Of Flight
Recall that the following initial details emerged about the incident:
- Passengers were ordered to remain in their seats with their hands on their head for the final hour of American Airlines flight due to a “security threat” onboard
- Passengers were also instructed not to film
- Upon landing, law enforcement personnel boarded the 777 jet to purportedly arrest a woman who had been screaming onboard
- In Miami, passengers deplaned via air stairs and were bussed to the terminal after law enforcement personnel boarded the aircraft
- Inside the terminal, passengers were forced to wait until cleared to depart by police officers and investigators
The particular details of what occurred onboard were a mystery. One tweet suggested it was a woman who screamed for more than 90 minutes continuously, but that is not actually what occurred onboard.
We now have further details about what occurred:
- Anthony Kevin Trujillo, 27, alleged there was a gas leak onboard
- He further alleged his seatmate was was hiding bomb components in her socks
- Trujillo then “accused a flight attendant of carrying improvised explosive device components in his bag and tried to wrestle the bag away from him”
- Two federal Air Marshals were onboard and searched the flight attendant’s bag and found no bomb parts
- Not satisfied, Trujillo jumped up from his seat and ran down the aisle toward the flight deck
- The Air Marshals stopped him and secured him to a seat after he resisted them
- Trujillo has been charged with interfering with crew members and faces up to 20 years in jail
As View from the Wing noted, despite finding no evidence of explosive devices, passengers “couldn’t take their hands down, because the captain didn’t say Simon Says.”
The reaction by the captain seems like total overkill to me and it seems that Trujillo needs some serious mental help. At least we now have more details, though it seems to me quite clear there was no threat onboard, just a crazy passenger.
When does “out of an abundance of caution” become too much? Was the line crossed here?
photo: illustration created by author