Alaska Airlines Flight 334 from Atlanta to Seattle was diverted to Spokane International Airport (GEG) on July 5, 2023, following a bomb threat made by a passenger on board.
The passenger, identified as 38-year-old Brandon Scott from Kentucky, was detained upon landing and now faces federal charges.
The aircraft made an unscheduled landing in Spokane, Washington state after Scott handed a flight attendant a note claiming he possessed “several pounds of homemade explosives” in the carry-on luggage and had a detonator on him.
According to documents filed in US District Court, the Kentucky man demanded that the aircraft be rerouted to an alternate airport and threatened to “detonate the explosives and kill everyone on board” if the plane landed in Seattle.
After being informed about the threat, the flight attendant immediately notified the captain and co-pilot, resulting in the rerouting of the aircraft. Flight 334 had 177 passengers and six crew members on board at the time of the incident.
According to Alaska Airlines, the flight had “safely landed at 5:15 p.m. Pacific time” and “local and federal law enforcement were immediately notified and met the aircraft upon arrival”.
The incident caused several other flights out of Spokane International Airport to be delayed.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Scott admitted to making the false bomb threat. Apparently he had hoped that the false information would divert the flight so that he could avoid being targeted by cartel members, who he claimed were waiting for him in Seattle with plans to torture and kill him.
Scott further alarmed investigators by revealing alternative plans he had considered using to divert the flight, which included attempting to open a cabin door mid-flight or assaulting a flight attendant.
Brandon Scott is currently being held at Spokane County Jail and is facing up to five years in prison and a possible fine of $250,000.
This is the second incident requiring the involvement of law enforcement with Alaska Airlines in less than two weeks. On June 25, 2023, a man on Alaska Airlines Flight 183 from Minneapolis to Anchorage had to be detained after assaulting crew members and passengers onboard.