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Two F15 Fighter Jets Escort Hawaiian Airlines Back To Portland Due To Misbehaving Passenger

The LA Times reported today that two F-15 fighter jets escorted a commercial flight bound for Hawaii back to Portland International Airport after a passenger became disruptive.

A spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command says the fighter jets intercepted Hawaiian Airlines Flight 39 at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the pilot decided to turn around.

Keoni Wagner, vice president of public affairs with Hawaiian Airlines, says the passenger failed to cooperate with crew. He did not elaborate, and additional details on the disruption were not immediately available.

The plane was carrying 231 passengers and a crew of 10.   Wagner says the plane landed safely in Portland and the passenger was removed. The plane was then refueled, and the flight departed again.

I for one was happy to read this LA Times Blog because a experienced an abusive passenger and her male companion on an American Airlines flight from Dallas, Fort Worth to Palm Springs, California in July of 2009.  I was traveling to the NAHA hair awards in Las Vegas by way of Palm Springs.

Although the incident I experienced was scary and totally weird, luckily the plane had not yet taken off and the belligerent woman and her companion were escorted in a forceful manner off the plane with little incident.  The American Airline flight attendants were very concerned for my safety and went out of their way to apologize for my experience.

If we had been in the air when the incident happened it certainly could have endangered the safety of other passengers or required the belligerent passenger to be locked into a bathroom for the duration of the flight.  I was traveling at the time with another HairBoutique.com team member and she was horrified when she watched the incident unfold.  She later confessed she was worried the plane would take off with the aggressive woman still onboard.  Thank heavens that did not happen.

My only question is what happened to the disruptive passenger?  There needs to be some sort of consequences for passengers who misbehave and put the rest of the airplane at risk.  In my case, the consequences were to be immediately evicted from the plane but it did not require any special fighter jet escorts.

Who pays for the two F15 jets and their fuel for escorting the Hawaiian Airlines back to Portland?  Hopefully the disruptive passenger will receive a bill and it won't be absorbed by the US taxpayers.

Hopefully the news media will provide more details of the incident but I for one and most appreciative of the airlines taking the needs of the majority of their passengers into consideration when handling situations like the one that occurred with me on American Airlines and the current Hawaiian Airlines incident.

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