Fighter Jets Escort American Airlines Flight After Passenger Disturbance

By Faye Higbee

An American Airlines flight to Honolulu turned eventful on Saturday as a Turkish passenger “became unruly” and ended up duct-taped to his seat by other passengers after attempting to get to the cockpit door.. The pilot called for help and asked for law enforcement to meet them at the airport. Two F-22 Raptors from Hawaii Air National guard were deployed to escort the commercial airline to the runway.

Problems waiting to happen

Anil Uskanil, 25, was actually arrested prior to the takeoff of Flight 31 to Honolulu.  Police at LAX- Los Angeles International Airport- had arrested him earlier for attempting to open a door that led to an airfield ramp. They said he had been drinking, but not bad enough to be arrested for being drunk, so they simply cited him for trespassing and gave him a court date.

First mistake: he was allowed to board.

Passengers on board the flight noted him even before the plane took off. One couple in First Class found a laptop in the pocket in front of their seats. The Flight Attendant told them it probably belonged to a man who was in the bathroom. When Uskanil came out of the bathroom, the man handed him the laptop. He scowled, opened and closed it, then attempted to sit in another First Class Seat. The couple noted him as “disheveled looking.”

But he looked out of place, so the Flight Attendant asked for his boarding pass. She sent him to row 35 in the back of the plane.

american airlines

Anil Uskanil

Stripes reported,

“Halfway through the six-hour flight, the couple saw the same man again holding his laptop with something over his head that they thought was a towel or a blanket.

“He was very quiet, moving very sluggish. He was trying to approach the cabin, like where the captain is,” said another passenger, Grant Arakelian.

At that point, a flight attendant ran down the aisle with her serving cart and blocked the entrance to first class, said passenger Lee Lorenzen, of Orange County, California.

“She jammed the cart in that the doorway and she just said, ‘You’re not coming in here,'” Lorenzen said.

The man pushed the cart, trying to get through but passengers came up behind him and grabbed him. He spent the rest of the flight restrained in a seat with duct tape.”

Gotta love passengers who see a problem and move to take care of it. The cockpit was NOT breached during the incident.

The Pilot notified Air Traffic Control, and law enforcement met the plane. F-22 Jets from the Hawaii Air National Guard were scrambled to escort the airliner into Honolulu. According to other media, law enforcement checked the plane out for any bombs or other problems before they let it leave the terminal again. DHS Secretary John Kelly was notified, and all other flights were immediately monitored.