JetBlue passenger assaults flight attendant, attempts to access cockpit

Philip Pilosian/

A passenger onboard a JetBlue (JBLU) flight (Number 261) en route to San Juan Airport (SJU) had to be forcibly restrained by the flight crew after becoming violent and attempting to access the flight deck. 

The passenger was seated in the sixth row of the aircraft when he attempted to make a phone call approximately an hour before arrival at SJU on September 22, 2021. The unsuccessful phone call made the passenger visibly angry, as per an affidavit released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Almost 45 minutes prior to arrival at SJU, the passenger pulled himself out of the seat and rushed towards the flight deck, yelling to be shot at in Spanish and Arabic.

A JetBlue (JBLU) flight attendant tried to restrain the passenger before the Flight Crew Officer (FCO) opened the cockpit door. Upon observing the open access to the cockpit, the passenger kicked the flight attendant on the chest while yelling at the FCO to shoot him.

While shouting at the FCO, the passenger held onto the flight attendant’s tie, consequently strangling him. The flight attendant was forced to release the passenger briefly to avoid incapacitation.

The struggle continued until six or seven flight crew members intervened and restrained the passenger. The passenger was restrained using makeshift arrangements by the crew. The flight attendant’s tie was used to bind the passenger’s ankles and seat belt extenders to hold his torso. 

The passenger was taken into custody by law enforcement officials after landing at SJU. The passenger will reportedly be charged with a federal offense under 49 U.S.C & 46504, Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants.

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