This past week, another flight diverted to Hawaii for a brief but unplanned island stay. This comes right on the heels of six other Hawaii-related diversions listed below for bad behavior. All occurred recently and all flights were either to or from Hawaii or diverted to Hawaii due to geographics.
Last week’s event happened on Air Canada Flight 35 from Vancouver. The flight was initially heading to Brisbane, merely flying by Hawaii. But Hawaii, being in the middle of the longest stretch of the Pacific Ocean without diversion points, often serves as a good place to stop. And sometimes for unintended reasons.
Unruly passenger “chokes out” flight attendant; is arrested in Hawaii.
This passenger air rage event resulted in a flight attendant allegedly being “choked out.” Following the in-flight chaos, the passenger was zip-tied sideways to his seat. One passenger reported that the issues resulted from a man groping women on the plane, running through the aisle, and “lifting up their skirts.”
Another passenger reported that the flight attendants “Took a bunch of straps and strapped him sideways onto a seat in the last row by himself” while the flight diverted to Honolulu. In the video, the passenger is yelling and stating, “I am physically wronged; I can barely feel my hands.”
Authorities at Honolulu Airport boarded the plane, and the passenger was arrested.
Six more recent Hawaii unruly passenger events.
Within the last number of months, six other Hawaii flight diversions also took place due to passenger behavior.
1. In December, there was an unruly passenger event on a Southwest Hawaii flight. In that instance, an altercation between passengers resulted in the plane returning to Hawaii. Southwest said it was due to “customer behavior.” It was reported that the pilot told passengers that, “If you kids don’t stop fighting I’m gonna turn this plane around and go back to Honolulu.” And that’preciselyly what happened. It isn’t known if any passengers were arrested, but at least one was escorted off the plane.
2. Last fall, Hawaiian Airlines suffered an unruly passenger incident causing a plane to return to the gate, with the offending passenger removed and arrested. The flight was delayed. HA flight 452 was bound from Sydney to Honolulu when a passenger became disruptive. The 36-year-old California resident bought a business-class seat but was inadvertently seated in economy.
“On boarding, cabin crew directed the accused to an economy seat which caused the accused to become verbally abusive towards the staff members.” Even after being seated correctly, the passenger again became abusive towards flight attendants, one of whom put their hand on the passenger’s shoulder in a misguided attempt to comfort her. That caused further agitation, as did an incident related to a pre-flight drink being removed. In conjunction with the cabin crew, the captain felt the accused’s erratic and disorderly conduct posed a safety risk on the flight. Takeoff was aborted, and after further gate altercations with Hawaiian Airlines and the police, the passenger was arrested, went to court, and paid a fine.
3. Also, last fall, a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu never made it to Hawaii. Instead, the Boeing 777 flight turned back to San Francisco. The issue was erratic passenger behavior. One commenter stated, “Reason – vague details about a traveler who was mentally ill and his behavior was becoming erratic.” Another comment stated, “The guy boarded and tried to take an Economy Plus seat (22B) in front of me. Interestingly he had no bags and was pretty shifty. The lady assigned to that seat came and made him return to his seat 46K. 1.5 hours into the flight, he got up to the door 2 left lav. Soon there were ~4 crew around the lav, and moments later, he stumbled out and fell to the ground. The crew were inspecting the lav with their flashlights and I saw one crew with the smoke detector panel in the galley. They eventually got him buckled into 16F, and you could hear him shouting and cursing the whole way back to SFO.”
4. Last summer, another unruly passenger incident on Hawaiian Airlines occurred when a guest, en route from New York to Honolulu, tried to breach the Airbus A330 cockpit. When that plane landed in Honolulu, it was met by law enforcement. During the flight, the passenger remained restrained. They were not, however, detained by authorities.
5. Just a day before the Hawaiian attempted cockpit breach, another Hawaii diversion occurred on United Airlines. UA 33 was heading to LA from Tokyo. Instead, the 787 Dreamliner landed in Honolulu due to a disruptive passenger who became physically abusive and, as a result, was retained during the flight with zip ties. While law enforcement met the aircraft at the arrival gate, we were told that the passenger wasn’t detained. The other passengers were accommodated in Honolulu, and their flight continued to Los Angeles the following day after a mandatory crew rest period.
6. Also last summer, another Hawaiian Airlines flight diverted to HNL when an intoxicated passenger tried to punch a flight attendant. The flight turned around 4 hours into the flight to Seoul, and upon landing, the passenger was arrested in Honolulu.