The American Airlines pilot could be heard telling chanting passengers to ‘behave’ (Picture: Mindy Robinson/Twitter)
A pilot threatened to divert his American Airlines plane and ‘dump’ chanting pro-Trump passengers in Kansas if they did not ‘behave’ on the flight.
Footage posted on social media shows a large group of passengers, many of whom were maskless, fist pumping and chanting ‘USA! USA!’ and ‘fight for Trump’ on the flight from Washington DC to Phoenix on Friday.
The incident came just two days after a mob of Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill in a bid to block Congress’s efforts to ratify Joe Biden’s presidential election win, which led to six deaths.
In one video uploaded to social media, the pilot becomes fed up with the chanting and tells passengers over the loudspeaker: ‘If this is the way it’s gonna be… it’s a four-and-a-half hour flight to Phoenix.
‘We’ll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off – I don’t care.
‘We will do that if that’s what it takes. So behave, please.’
Passengers can be heard saying ‘wow’ and laughing as one mocks the pilot shouting ‘behave’. Another can be heard saying: ‘Isn’t this American Airlines?’
A spokesperson for the airline said passengers had refused requests by the cabin crew to wear face coverings in line with Covid-19 rules. The pilot flew the plane to Phoenix Sky Harbor as planned.
Actress and Trump supporter Mindy Robinson, who uploaded one of the videos, wrote on Twitter: ‘Wow. I’m on a plane full of patriots flying from DC to Phoenix and we started chanting “USA” …and the Captain came on said told us he’d drop us off in Kansas if he had to if we didn’t obey their every single rule [sic].
‘American Airlines is everything but American.’
A spokesperson for the airline told DailyMail.com: ‘At American, we take the safety of our customers seriously and we value the trust they place in our team to care for them throughout their journey.
‘Prior to departure from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), the pilot onboard flight 1242 made an announcement emphasizing the importance of following crew member instructions and complying with mandatory face-covering policies.’
It was one of several incidents of unruly passengers on board flights leaving the Washington DC area in recent days, prompting US airlines and law enforcement to ramp up security at airports as flight attendants fear for their safety.
Alaska Airlines said on Friday it had banned 14 passengers from future travel with the carrier after what it called ‘unacceptable’ behaviour on a flight from Washington Dulles to Seattle.
It said a number of passengers on a flight out of Washington late on Thursday ‘were non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members.’
At least 82 people have been arrested amid the Capitol Hill riots (Picture: PA)
Passengers were heard chanting ‘fight for Trump’ (Picture: Mindy Robinson/Twitter)
The airline said in a statement: ‘Because of their actions and non-compliance, we have banned 14 of those passengers from future travel with us.’
Flight attendants have expressed concern their flights are carrying Trump supporters who are making their way home following Wednesday’s violent riots at the Capitol, which have so far led to at least 82 arrests.
The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is now threatening to ‘pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight.’
Administrator Stephen Dickson said he expects passengers to follow instructions from cabin crews and warned the penalties for interfering with airline staff range from fines to jail time.
The union representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), also raised the alarm about passengers ‘exhibiting politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew’ on flights this week.
APFA President Julie Hedrick said in a statement: ‘To say I am worried about our Flight Attendants’ safety is an understatement. This behavior is dangerous and threatening.’
Ms Hedrick said APFA is working with other flight attendant unions, lawmakers, and regulatory agencies in Washington, D.C. to enhance safety and make sure that ‘anyone displaying threatening or abusive behavior will not be allowed to board our aircraft now or in the future.’
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