HOUSTON, Texas (KPRC) – A United Airlines flight from Bush Intercontinental Airport headed to Laguardia ended up taking a major detour to Memphis on Saturday, before ending up in Newark, New Jersey – 45 minutes away from its destination.
A passenger said it started when a man tried to charge the cockpit.
Cookie Smith caught the confrontation on her cellphone. The disturbance started in the back of a plane when a man started to harass another passenger.
“We were all like ‘Oh my gosh, can you believe?’ We were shaking. I was shaking even after we landed in Memphis,” Smith said. “He seemed a little off and he had a black eye. Like the whole white part of his eye was blood red.”
The commotion moved from the back of the plane to the front; she said the man rushed down the aisle heading toward the cockpit.
“Right behind him was a flight attendant saying ‘Sir, you can’t go in there, sir you can’t go in there,'” Smith said. “The guy said, ‘Sir, you have to return to your seat,’ and the guy wouldn’t. So the flight attendant was on the phone covering his mouth.”
Next, there was a call for assistance.
“My husband got up and they just stood in the aisle so he couldn’t rush,” Smith said.
After he was put in handcuffs, the plane landed in Memphis. He got off with police and so did everyone else.
“They had to search the plane because he said he had a gun,” Smith said. “Five hours later we were interviewed by the FBI and I gave them my video.”
All of the passengers boarded another plane to Newark and landed hours later. It was a late night for those passengers. Flight 1435 landed at Newark at 2:52 a.m.