Air travel is still trying to recover after the COVID lockdowns and mask mandates.
But it seems the increase in unhinged passengers could be causing passengers to avoid the already stressful travel.
And there was just one scare in the air when an Alaska Airlines flight was forced to divert after a passenger took this shocking action.
Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight out of Seattle had to divert the flight after a passenger who allegedly had access to ride in the cockpit attempted to shut off the plane’s engines mid flight.
A diversion and an arrest
The flight eventually landed safely in Oregon after the strange and scary incident.
Though the flight’s original destination was San Francisco, it was forced to land in Portland, OR, instead, after what was described as a “credible security threat,” according to the Daily Mail.
After Horizon Air flight 2059, operated by Alaska Airlines, diverted to Portland en route to San Francisco, the Alaska Airlines pilot allegedly responsible for the scare was arrested.
“I’ll just give you a heads-up. We’ve got the guy that tried to shut the engines down out of the cockpit,” the flight’s pilot told Portland air traffic control in mid-flight.
“It doesn’t seem like he’s causing any issue at the back. I think he’s subdued.”
“Other than that, we want law enforcement as soon as we get on the ground and parked,” the pilot added.
It is not yet exactly clear how the off-duty pilot was eventually subdued or whether or not any of the other passengers got involved.
The flight was carrying about 80 passengers, including a number of infants and small children.
A passenger on the flight deck?
The individual who is alleged to have attempted to cut off the engines was seated right behind the two pilots, inside the flight deck.
While this is something that supposedly ended after 9/11, the Seattle Times pointed out it is actually not an unusual occurrence, given that “any airline employee can hitch a free ride back to their home base after their work shift ends if seats are available.”
When seats aren’t available, airline employees and sometimes military personnel are given access to “jump seats,” either with the flight attendants or on the flight deck with the pilots.
And in a statement released in the days following the incident, Alaska Air Group, who owns both Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, said that there had been a “credible security threat related to an authorized occupant in the flight deck jump seat.”
The Airline’s statement continued, “The crew secured the aircraft without incident. All passengers on board were able to travel on a later flight.”
“We are grateful for the professional handling of the situation by the Horizon flight crew and appreciate our guests’ calm and patience throughout this event.”
So far, there is no information on the possible motive of the suspect in the case or why he would have wanted to shut down the engines.
However, the incident is still under an ongoing FAA and police investigation.
24/7 Politics will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.