6/16 UPDATE: Exclusive insight from a passenger onboard. This story has been updated.
A United Airlines flight traveling from Tokyo to Los Angeles diverted to Honolulu due to a disruptive passenger onboard. A passenger on that flight has provided insight to Live and Let’s Fly on what occurred onboard.
United Airlines Dreamliner Traveling From Tokyo To LA Diverts To Honolulu Due To Disruptive Passenger
The incident occurred on UA33 traveling from Tokyo (NRT) to Los Angeles (NRT) on June 14, 2022. Midway over the Pacific Ocean a passenger disturbance occurred, prompting a diversion to Honolulu (HNL).
A United spokesperson told Live and Let’s Fly:
United flight 33 from Tokyo Narita International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport diverted to Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport due to a disruptive passenger. Law enforcement officers met the aircraft at the gate, and customers deplaned normally. Our teams are making arrangements to get customers to their final destinations as quickly as possible.
The reported threat onboard was Level 2 under International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidelines:
- Level 1 — Disruptive behavior (verbal)
- Level 2 — Physically abusive behavior
- Level 3 — Life-threatening behavior (or display of a weapon)
- Level 4 — Attempted or actual breach of the flight crew compartment
From what we’ve been able to gather, there was not an overall threat to the aircraft. Rather, it was an isolated incident with one customer.
A passenger onboard shared with Live and Let’s Fly:
“I was on this flight sitting two rows in front of him on the other side of the plane. The passenger was irate and screaming he had to get off the plane. He was older and apparently he wasn’t drunk. He was being very forceful and at one point there was four people holding him down in his seat. They brought out zipties but ultimately they didn’t restrain him with the zipties. He walked off the plane with police and medical professionals.
“The woman sitting in front of me was a doctor who assisted in getting the passenger to calm down. She said there was a medication issue, either he didn’t take or mixed up meds.”
United’s Honolulu team met the flight and offered rebooking options to final destinations as well as hotel and meal vouchers for those who had to remain overnight in Honolulu. A replacement section for UA33 continued the journey to Los Angeles under the flight number UA3016 on June 15th and arrived at LAX in the late afternoon.
Here, it appears the diversion was caused by neither drunkenness nor a mask, but by medication. It took four people to restrain one passenger, though he appeared to calm down before the flight even reached its Honolulu diversion point.
Were you on UA33 on Tuesday? Please let us know what transpired onboard to require the diversion to HNL.
image: North Charleston