Aviation News

September 28, 2009

New York-bound United Flight Returns to Gate at LAX After “Suspicious” Passenger Activity

United Airlines 757 N516UA at LaGuardia Airport LGA
United Airlines 757 N516UA taxis to the active at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Photo by Matt Molnar

United Airlines 757 N516UA taxis to the active at LaGuardia Airport in New York. (Photo by Matt Molnar)

United Flight 22, the airline’s 8:30am Los Angeles-New York service, has returned to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport this afternoon in order for law enforcement to remove two suspicious Middle Eastern passengers who were on their way to Cairo, according to published reports.

One of the men reportedly ran to the bathroom just before the plane was about to take off despite orders from the flight attendants to remain seated. The captain made the decision to return to the gate in order have this person and his flying companion removed from the plane. One initial report initially reported the pair were arrested, but the FBI told Reuters the men were cooperative and were allowed to rebook on a later flight.

Flight 22's status from United.com

Flight 22's status from United.com

The 757 aircraft was thoroughly searched following the incident, causing a delay of nearly four hours. It finally took off at 12:12pm Los Angeles-time, and is due to arrive at JFK Airport at 8:25pm New York-time.

According to avherald, this is the third significant incident to affect United ops in as many days. On Sunday, the crew of United Flight 900 (SFO-FRA), a 747-400, rejected takeoff after a nose gear tire burst at high speed. The day before, one of their A320s flying from Cleveland to Newark suffered a loss of cabin pressure, forcing a return to Cleveland.

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