Home » Unruly American Airlines passenger restrained by others after attempting to open emergency door in-flight

Unruly American Airlines passenger restrained by others after attempting to open emergency door in-flight

by John Jefferson
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An American Airlines flight was forced to return to New Mexico after a passenger attempted to open the emergency door mid-flight on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and American Airlines confirmed with Fox News Digital, that AA flight 1219, which was headed to Chicago International Airport, was forced to return to Albuquerque International Sunport.

A passenger on the plane, Don, who is the globetrotting host of Barstool Sports’ “Donnie Does,” said that the in-flight disturbance happened approximately 30 minutes after the Boeing 737’s departure.

“At the moment there was just too much going on to be panicking, but it was very scary,” Don told Fox News Digital.


The media personality said that he was drifting off to sleep when he was suddenly awakened by an out-of-control passenger.

Don said that he “jumped out of his seat” and joined the other four passengers who were working to subdue the passenger who was attempting to open the emergency door.

“So I jumped out of my seat, ran over, and we probably had about like four or five guys who were trying to rip off this guy who was clinging to and pulling at the [emergency door] handle,” he said.

In-flight disturbance, fight

Don said that he felt “pretty sluggish” because during his layover he had Chinese food with a tequila soda.


“Tequila sodas don’t pair well with Panda Express,” he said. “So I was pretty sluggish. I thought I was feeling pretty sluggish at the time, but once I saw what was going on, that got me right up.”

Passenger escorted off plane

The four or five passengers and Don worked to subdue the man, who was clinging to the emergency door.

“Once we got him off of the door, we moved him to the aisle, and we all held down his legs and arms,” Don said.

Eventually, an American Airlines flight attendant came over and duct taped his legs and used flex cuffs to restrain him.

Video from Don showed the group of men restraining the passenger as the flight attendant duct taped his legs together.

They placed him at the back of the plane, where there was an empty row, Don said.

Don told Fox News Digital that before the unruly passenger attempted to open up the emergency door, other passengers heard him say that he “had to get off this plane.”

“Once we got him off the door, he was not fighting back too aggressively. And then we took the plane back to Albuquerque.”

Following the incident, the plane diverted back to Albuquerque International Sunport, where the unruly passenger was immediately arrested by local law enforcement.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, the Albuquerque Division of the FBI said that they are investigating the incident.

“The Albuquerque Division of the FBI is aware of the incident, and we are currently investigating.”

The Albuquerque Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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