American Airlines orders passengers to put their hands on their heads for last hour of flight over ‘security threat’

Passengers say they spent the final hour of Flight 2289 with their hands on their heads, and armed police boarded the plane after it landed

Nathan Place
New York
Saturday 10 July 2021 12:52
Passengers made to put hands up over ‘security threat’ on American Airlines flight
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American Airlines ordered everyone on a Miami-bound flight to put their hands on their heads for about an hour due to an unspecified “possible security threat”, passengers say.

“Passengers were ordered to put their hands on their heads for 45-60 minutes before landing,” Chris Nguyen, who was on the flight, wrote on Twitter. “Strangely, passengers were repeatedly told not to film on the plane.”

Flight 2289 departed from Los Angeles and landed in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. But about an hour before it landed, passengers say, the flight’s crew ordered them all to put their hands up, citing the unnamed security threat.

Once the plane was on the ground, Mr Nguyen says, armed police boarded the aircraft and made an arrest.

“Any idea why law enforcement came on with machine guns and arrested a guy on @AmericanAir Flight 2289 from LAX to MIA?” the customer asked local news station KTLA.

Passengers were then led off the plane and told to wait in a terminal. American Airlines confirmed this part of the story, but still did not disclose what the security threat was.

“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.”

Two videos filmed by Mr Nguyen show snippets of the bizarre chain of events. The first shows passengers on the plane, apparently still in flight, with their hands on their heads. The second shows passengers standing in an airport terminal, with some of them angrily yelling.

“Craziest experience of my life,” one person, apparently claiming to be a passenger, wrote later on Twitter.