‘Intoxicated’ United Airlines passenger is restrained mid-flight as plane diverted

Flight 883 made an unexpected landing in Maine after passenger threatened to ‘mess up the plane’

Amelia Neath
Friday 08 March 2024 17:58 GMT
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An “intoxicated” British passenger who threatened to “mess up the plane” was restrained onboard a United Airlines flight from London that was forced to divert to Maine.

Flight 883 was travelling from the UK to Newark, New Jersey, on 1 March when it was diverted to Bangor, Maine after a passenger became unruly.

Alexander MacDonald, 30, faces charges of interference with the flight crew or attendant and assault, according to court documents obtained by The Independent.

Two passengers appeared to be “intoxicated” and “became disruptive,” an airline spokesperson told The Independent.

They added that law enforcement officials removed two passengers, and the flight then re-departed and landed at Newark Liberty Airport.

“The customers will be banned from future United flights while we review this matter,” the United Airlines spokesperson said.

Mr MacDonald, who is from Hackney in London, was allegedly arguing loudly with his girlfriend and was first asked to lower his voice by a flight purser. He initially complied, but after a few minutes, the yelling persisted.

The man had allegedly started to yell at one of the flight attendants, at which point the flight purser tried to get the passenger to calm down.

He then continued to be verbally and physically aggressive and allegedly asked a flight purser if he would like to “have a problem” and threatened to “mess up the plane.”

He also placed his hands on the flight purser’s shoulders as he backed the United employee into the corner, the complaint claimed.

With the assistance of another passenger asked to help the crew, they got Mr MacDonald into flex cuffs.

Court documents added that the unruly passenger continued to be non-compliant and could not be retrained in the crew rest seat, even after attempts to calm him down.

Eventually, it was decided that the flight would need to take a diversion to Maine, with the captain deciding that the conduct threatened the safety of the passengers and the crew.

The Bangor Police Department assisted Customs and Border Protection and the FBI after the flight made the unexpected landing in Maine, Seargend Jason McAmbley, a public information officer for the police, told PEOPLE.

He added that the CBP and the FBI are now handling the investigation. The FBI told ABC7 that the investigation is ongoing.

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