In Flight Fight Forces Heartland Landing

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

A rowdy passenger on a United Airlines flight headed to Washington forced an unscheduled stop in the Heartland. Witnesses to the incident say an argument quickly escalated to much more, but passengers came to the rescue.

The flight originated in San Francisco but landed at Omaha's Eppley Airfield around five Monday morning.

One of the passengers on that flight says there were some tense moments on the airplane between a passenger and a flight attendant.

Lauren Airey says, "She was having trouble keeping her subdued I guess she was sort of flailing her arms and was trying to engage hostilely with the flight attendant."

Lauren was sitting just a few rows behind the action watching as the verbal confrontation between the passenger and the flight attendant escalated into a fight.

It was then that two or three passengers got involved, jumping into the fight and according to Lauren, "dog piling" the women.

The story gets even stranger; after the crew and the passengers on the plane managed to subdue the woman they began to escort her to the rear of the plane. Lauren tells me that's when the woman started to apologize to the other passengers.

Minutes later the plane was on the ground in Omaha and the authorities on their way. On the plane there was a genuine sense of relief, and gratitude from the flight crew.

Lauren Airey says, "Expressed a couple of times appreciation for the two or three guys who had helped and sort of called them out and everyone sort of gave a round of applause for those guys."

After giving statements to authorities the United flight was back in the air, headed to Washington, minus one passenger.

The F.B.I. has taken over the case, but is not releasing the woman's name. They say when the reports are done they will be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's Office. That office will decide what if any charges to file against the woman.


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