Trying To Exit The Plane In Mid-Air Earns Man Improvised Shoelace Shackles

There’s a certain sort of unspoken pact among airplane passengers when it comes to obeying the rules. For example, I’m not going to tattle on you for keeping your iPad on during takeoff (although I’ve got a wicked side-eye) but if you try to use the emergency exit in mid-flight, people are gonna stop you. Or at least, they should.

Authorities say a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight had to be restrained with shoelaces when he tried to open an exit while the plane was descending, reports the Associated Press.

The flight was headed into Portland and was approaching the city when witnesses say he tried to open the emergency exit. Passengers and crew say the 23-year-old man made “unusual statements” before pulling on the door handle in an exit row. The alarm was triggered during his efforts, until his fellow fliers whipped off shoelaces and grabbed seat-belt extensions to keep him in check.

One witness told media that a woman sitting next to the suspect asked him for help.

“I put him in a choke hold and brought him down to the ground,” the man said, adding that he and another man asked flight attendants for restraints. They brought him the makeshift materials and the two put them in place. 

The man sat calmly, say witnesses, “surrounded by big guys” until the plane arrived just nine minutes behind schedule at its destination. He was arrested upon landing and charged with interfering with a flight crew. 

FBI: Man tried to open exit door on Oregon flight [Associated Press]