A flight en route from Jacksonville to Washington, D.C. had to be diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport because of an unruly passenger, several media outlets reported.
American Airlines was first diverted to Charlotte Douglas International Airport but then was rerouted to the Raleigh airport, ActionNewsJax reported.
CBS News reported that a passenger tried to get into the cockpit and that American Eagle flight 3444 was diverted “due to a security concern involving an unruly customer,” American Airlines said in a statement.
Update 3:26 p.m. EST Feb. 24: The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Police Department has dismissed the charges they had filed against Tiffany Miles, WRAL reported.
Miles had been facing a misdemeanor.
“After continued investigation regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident and review of eyewitness statements, plus in-depth consultation with the Wake County District Attorney, RDU law enforcement have dismissed the [charge],” airport officials said, according to WRAL.
Miles told the television station that she is relieved that the charges were dismissed.
“I know I didn’t do anything wrong, so it’s the same reaction,” Miles told WRAL.
Original report: Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said it was a “Level 4 disruption” in a tweet on Wednesday.
FAA leadership has briefed me on today’s flight diversion due to a Level 4 disruption on board. Thankful to all who helped ensure its safe arrival. As always, safety is our main concern and our top priority. https://t.co/P69GWvI7C3— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 23, 2023
CNN reported that police relayed that the passenger tried to breach the cockpit and was “being somewhat restrained by the flight crew and other passengers.”
An FAA spokesperson told CNN that the passenger “did not breach it” but “did run at it.”
Members of law enforcement boarded the plane once it landed and got to the gate, arresting the woman who was said to have been experiencing a panic attack, CNN reported.
The woman is facing a misdemeanor charge of illegal airport obstruction, according to the Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification and WRAL.
She’s been identified as Tiffany Miles, WTVD reported.
Miles said she was trying to go to the bathroom at the front of the plane near the cockpit when she got into an argument with a flight attendant.
She claims she has anxiety and tried to order a cocktail, but an attendant said there was no drink service on the flight. WRAL reported that the attendant would not ask the captain why there was no drink service on the flight.
She said she got up and was trying to use the bathroom when a flight attendant stopped her. A fellow passenger tried to calm her down. Five minutes later, Miles said the crew used zip ties on her and placed her in the back of the plane until it landed.
“I started freaking out because so many people started getting up on me,” Miles told WRAL. “I started freaking completely out, ‘This is not called for.’”
Miles has been released from custody and allowed to return to Washington, D.C., WRAL reported.
The flight was cleared to return to its flight plan but was eventually canceled, WTVD reported.