A Delta Air Lines passenger was detained at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after opening the aircraft’s emergency exit door and causing the emergency exit slide to deploy.
Flight DL 1714 was scheduled to fly from LAX airport to Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on March 24, 2023, and the aircraft, a Boeing 737, was still on the tarmac when the incident occurred.
Based on Los Angeles Police Department reports, a passenger walked towards a flight attendant just as the aircraft was pushing away from the gate. The passenger then asked the flight attendant, “What do I do now?”.
When the flight attendant told the passenger to go back to his seat, he ran to the emergency exit. Before he could be stopped, the passenger turned the latch on the emergency exit, opening the door and causing the slide to deploy. The passenger then used the slide to exit the aircraft.
When the passenger reached the tarmac, he jumped into the passenger seat of a baggage cart. Two baggage handlers held the passenger down until the Los Angeles Airport Police (LAAP) came and detained the passenger.
“Due to the circumstances, the FBI has been notified,” LAAP’s Captain Karla Rodriguez said, as reported by CBS News. “The aircraft was returned to a gate and passengers are in the process of being deplaned in order to be transported in another aircraft so that they can continue with their flight plans.”
Delta Air Lines released a statement seen by CBS News, which read: “Delta flight 1714 operating from Los Angeles to Seattle returned to the gate due to an unruly passenger. The aircraft was taxiing for takeoff when the passenger exited the aircraft and was initially detained by Delta staff ahead of being arrested by local law enforcement. Customers are being re-accommodated on a new aircraft and we apologize for the inconvenience and delay in their travel plans.”