United Airlines passenger tried to enter cockpit and open exit doors

United Airlines N68822 Boeing 737
Santiparp Wattanaporn / Shutterstock.com

A United Airlines flight was forced to return to the gate before take off after a passenger attempted to enter the cockpit and open the aircraft’s exit doors.  

The Boeing 737 jet was due to depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 7:40 pm but as the aircraft was taxiing for take-off the unruly passenger began disrupting the flight.  

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed in a statement that on September 8, 2023, Flight UA1641 returned to the gate shortly after 9 pm. 

“The passenger was not successful, and law enforcement greeted the unruly passenger at the gate,” the FAA said in a statement. 

The flight was subsequently cancelled by United Airlines.  

The incident came just three days before many people’s thoughts will turn to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in America on September 11, 2001, when hijackers took control of multiple planes by entering the cockpit.  

Many of the strict rules and procedures around aircraft security and the cockpit are a direct result of that fateful day when more than 2,900 people were killed.  

There appears to be a growing number of incidents on flights where individuals have either tried to enter the cockpit or open the exit doors.  

Only on September 4, 2023, a Wizz Air flight bound for London-Luton Airport (LTN) in the UK from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in Israel was forced to land prematurely due to an unruly passenger on board.    

According to local reports, the passenger attempted to open the emergency door mid-flight and tried to attack cabin crew members.    

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