Spirit Airlines may not offer any formal in-flight entertainment, but you have a decent chance of encountering some anyway in the form of (mis)behavior from fellow passengers. The latest incident involves a shirtless man attempting to open the exit door during a flight to Los Angeles.
Spirit Airlines Flight Diverts To Denver After Shirtless Passenger Attempts To Open Exit Door
Spirit Airlines flight 185 took off from Cleveland (CLE) on Wednesday, headed for Los Angeles (LAX). Midway through the flight, a passenger exited the lavatory without his shirt then attempted to open one of the rear exit doors just outside the lavatories.
He was constrained by flight attendants and passengers and held down in the last row. The captain opted to divert to Denver (DEN) rather than continuing to Los Angeles.
Law enforcement and medical officials met the flight and the man was escorted off on a stretcher. The passenger has not yet been identified, but faces steep fines for his misbehavior. Earlier this month the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration extended its zero-tolerance policy for disruptive passengers onboard. Based upon the fact pattern, the young man could be facing a fine of up to $35,000 or up to 20 years in jail since the incident involved flight attendant assault (in the struggle to wrestle him to the ground).
Responding to the incident, Spirit points out the impossibility of opening an aircraft emergency exit door in-flight:
“It is important to note that opening a door inflight is impossible due to air pressure inside the cabin pinning the door against its frame with force stronger than any person could ever overcome. Safety is our number one priority at Spirit Airlines. Law enforcement met the aircraft in Denver and took the passenger into custody. We thank the crew members and Guests who assisted for handling this situation quickly prior to arrival.”
While harsh penalties for poor behavior onboard serve as deference, bad behavior persists. The latest incident required several flight attendants and passengers to risk their own safety in order to subdue the passenger. It isn’t clear if drugs were alcohol were involved.