American Airlines passengers were filmed with their hands on their heads on a flight from Los Angeles to Miami on Wednesday. All passengers aboard the flight 2289 “were ordered to put their hands on their heads for 45-60 minutes before landing,” according to passenger Chris Nguyen, who filmed part of the bizarre incident:
Here's the MIA terminal where passengers were forced to wait after getting off the plane. pic.twitter.com/EKlMuaHQzq
— Chris Nguyen (@imaNguyener) July 8, 2021
The unusual order also came with the warning for passengers like Nguyen not to film what was occurring on the plane. After landing in Miami, heavily armed law enforcement officers reportedly boarded the plane and appeared to arrest and remove one male passenger.
All remaining passengers were then permitted to deplane without their personal belongings. They were then transported by bus to the terminal, but for some unexplained reason, passengers were not permitted to immediately leave the terminal. This detention caused several passengers to become agitated.
In a statement to The Independent, American Airlines gave no reason for the incident or detention beyond vaguely referencing the presence of an onboard “security threat”:
“On July 7, American Airlines flight 2289, a Boeing 777-300 operating from Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA), was met by law enforcement upon landing at MIA due to a possible security threat on board,” the airline told The Independent. “Passengers were deplaned and bused to the terminal, and the aircraft was inspected by authorities. Safety and security is our top priority and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this caused.”
In another statement, the FBI informed FOX Business that it’s “aware of this situation and is examining the facts with consideration of federal criminal statutes” and will decide whether to seek criminal charges against the passenger.
The FBI’s “awareness” and American Airlines’s lack of communication are little comfort to the stressed out and worried passengers of flight 2289 and all future American flights.
In these days of unruly passengers, rising ticket prices, and falling customer service quality, a little compassionate transparency would go a long way to making the skies friendlier for all.
Whatever happened to the public’s right to know? “Hands up! Don’t film!” just doesn’t cut it.