An attempted cockpit breach on a United Airlines 737 flight to Los Angeles prompted an urgent warning to all pilots in the air at the time.
United Airlines Issues Urgent Level 4 Alert To Pilots After Attempted Cockpit Breach On 737 Bound For Los Angeles
UA1641 pulled out of the gate last night in Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and taxied to the runway. The Boeing 737-900 aircraft was heading to Los Angeles (LAX), where it was set to arrive just after 10:00 pm.
But before the flight could even take off, an alleged disruption onboard occurred, with a passenger attempting to breach the flight deck (cockpit) door. The aircraft returned to the gate where the problematic passenger was arrested. The flight was also canceled.
Per PYOK, the incident prompted a Level 4 threat to aircraft that were flying at the time, specifically warning pilots to be vigilant for potential cockpit intruders. Furthermore, the incident prompted “lockdown” efforts on a number of flights in the air.
Via the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), threat levels onboard are divided into four categories of escalating severity:
- Level 1 — Disruptive behavior (verbal): In response, the crew will address the passenger, warning them about the consequences of their actions and informing them that further disruptive behavior may result in refusal of service and reporting the incident to the authorities.
- Level 2 — Physically abusive behavior: The crew will issue a stronger warning to the passenger, emphasizing the severity of their actions and the potential legal consequences. They may also limit the passenger’s access to alcohol and consider restraining them if necessary, ensuring the safety of other passengers and crew.
- Level 3 — Life-threatening behavior (or display of a weapon): In response, the flight crew will prioritize the safety of the aircraft and its passengers and may seek assistance from law enforcement officials onboard, consider diverting the flight to the nearest airport, and apply physical restraints to ensure the unruly passenger cannot cause harm.
- Level 4 — Attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment: In such cases, the flight crew will take immediate and decisive action to protect the integrity of the flight. They will notify other crew members and seek assistance from law enforcement authorities. Flight diversion and involvement of security personnel are highly likely at this level.
No further details have emerged, though Fox News reports that the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the incident.
A United Airlines 737-900 returned to the gate last night after an attempted breach of the cockpit and exit door. The incident allegedly prompted a systemwide alert to all pilots in the air as well as lockdowns on some flights. No video or images have emerged (yet) from UA1641.
This is a developing story.