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Passengers help subdue unruly passenger on Delta flight from L.A. to Atlanta

Social media video shows passengers helping get control of the man on Flight 1730 Friday night.
Credit: AP
In this file photo the tails of two Delta Air Lines planes are shown parked at the gates at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

WASHINGTON — Passengers on a cross-country Delta Air Lines flight Friday night were called into action after a fight broke out between an off-duty Delta flight attendant and someone else, forcing the flight to be diverted.

A Delta spokesperson confirmed the incident happened on Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta.

The spokesperson said on Saturday that the altercation began after the off-duty Delta flight attendant got ahold of the PA system at the front of the plane near the cockpit. The spokesperson could not confirm what was said over the PA system.

Despite some social media posts suggesting the passenger may have tried opening the plane door or that it was an attempted hijacking, the Delta spokesperson said that was never the case. 

Video of the incident can be seen in this tweet (Warning: User's handle has graphic language)

At one point, flight attendants called for able-bodied men on the flight to come help subdue the passenger.

"Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 (LAX to ATL) who assisted in detaining an unruly passenger as the flight diverted to Oklahoma City (OKC)," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement. We apologize to our customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this caused."

A spokesperson said no one was injured during the altercation, and could not confirm if the off-duty attendant will be terminated or not. Delta is still waiting to receive the full transcript for what was said over the PA system.

The Federal Aviation Administration has reported a dramatic rise in cases of unruly passengers in 2021, including an incident a week ago in which a passenger allegedly tried to break into the cockpit of another Delta flight.

Many of the cases involve people flouting federal mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other cases involve passengers drinking alcohol -- some of whom allegedly drank alcohol not provided by the airline -- causing at least two airlines to delay plans to resume alcohol service

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