A Hawaiian Airlines flight en route to South Korea was forced to return to Honolulu Wednesday after an intoxicated passenger attempted to punch a flight attendant.
FBI Special Agent Jason White told USA TODAY that a disruptive traveler grew “irate” on flight HA459 on Feb. 27 after a steward asked the passenger to settle down.
White said the passenger then lunged toward the flight attendant in a “threatening gesture,” but was “too intoxicated” to make contact. “Alcohol was a factor,” he added.
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In a statement to USA TODAY, Hawaiian Airlines said the incident happened four hours into the 11-hour flight, adding that “the Captain made the decision to return to Honolulu due to an unruly passenger.”
FBI, deputy sheriffs and Customs and Border Protection agents met the plane when it landed, where the “upset” guest was arrested and transported to the Federal Detention Center.
The remaining 262 passengers and 13 crew members departed Honolulu for Incheon International Airport in South Korea Wednesday evening after briefly deplaning.
“We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience,” Hawaiian Airlines said.
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