United Airlines Passenger Arrested After Allegedly Trying To Open Door 3 Times During Flight

Image courtesy of InSapphoWeTrust

While they say you should try, try again if at first you don’t succeed, that familiar maxim should not apply when what you’re trying to do is open the exterior door of a commercial jet flying several thousand feet above the ground.

To wit: A passenger now stands accused of trying to let some fresh air into the cabin — not once, but three times — during a United Airlines flight from Paris to Washington, D.C.

According to an arrest affidavit [PDF] filed in support of a criminal complaint [PDF], the Federal Bureau of Investigation says a man on a Sept. 30 flight from Paris to Washington Dulles International Airport ordered a glass of red wine from a flight attendant during the first round of beverages.

Soon after, the flight attendant claims, the man’s eyes appeared “medicated,” and he was “slow to comprehend information.”

The attendant then instructed other crew members not to serve the passenger any more alcoholic beverages.

Later, the attendant allegedly saw the man standing in the galley with a bottle of wine, and was unsure where he had obtained it. The crew member took the bottle away from him, and he returned to his seat.

Another attendant interviewed by the FBI reported seeing the passenger look out the window on the left of the emergency exit, before allegedly stating, “I need to get off this plane.”

The crew member then allegedly saw him attempt to open the emergency exit, and told him to go back to his seat.

About five minutes later, the attendant says the passenger came to the rear of the aircraft, ran to the same emergency exit door, and tried to open it. The crew member had to “physically remove” the man from the area of the exit.

A Federal Air Marshal on the flight — identified as “DD” in the arrest affidavit — told the FBI that after going to the back of the aircraft to witness the commotion, a flight attendant explained what had happened. “DD” didn’t identify himself as an air marshal at that point, but remained by the emergency exit door in the back of the plane.

Around 45 minutes before landing, the passenger allegedly once more approached the exit door and died to open it. At that point, “DD” grabbed him, identified himself as a Federal Air Marshal, and restrained the passenger. He was then restrained for the rest of the flight, and arrested upon arrival.

The passenger has been charged with interference with flight crew members or flight attendants, and will also be joining a long list of unruly flyers  — and airline employees — who have gone for the exit door at the wrong time:

Aug. 2017 —  A 17-year-old on a Copa Airlines flight opened an over-wing emergency door after the plane landed, slid down the wing of the plane, and jumped to the tarmac.

June 2017 — A Southwest Airlines flight was diverted after a passenger tried to open the exit door in mid-air.

Nov. 2016 — United Airlines passenger in Houston opened the plane’s door and hopped out while the plane taxied.

Sept. 2016 — A Kentucky man was banned from flying on commercial airlines last year after he got into an altercation that ended with him trying to exit from an open door that wasn’t connected to the jet bridge.

April 2016 — A United Airlines flight attendant deployed a plane’s slide after it had landed at the same airport, rode it down, and walked away from her job.

Nov. 2015 — An intoxicated British Airways passenger tried to pry open the door mid-flight.

Sept. 2015 — A KLM Airlines passenger apparently thought the airplane’s door was the bathroom and tried to open it at 30,000 feet.

Sept. 2014 — A Virgin America passenger reportedly masturbated in flight and then went for the exit door.

Aug. 2010 — JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became infamous after he cursed out a passenger and then used the plane’s emergency slide to exit the plane and run away.

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