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Southwest jet diverts after passengers become disorderly

🕐 1 min read

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Six people face federal charges after the cabin crew and passengers of a Southwest Airlines flight said they behaved in such an aggressive and hostile manner that the flight made an unscheduled landing in Amarillo, Texas.

A federal criminal complaint says the six are charged with interference with a flight crew and aiding and abetting others. All are jailed without bond in the Randall County Jail in nearby Canyon, Texas, pending a federal detention hearing in Amarillo on Wednesday.

Jail records list no attorneys for the six, identified in court documents as Salman Hermez, Jonathan Khalid Petras, Ghaswan Asaad Shaba, Essa Solaqa, Khalid Yohana and Wisam Imad Shaker.

A federal arrest affidavit says the six were seated together on Southwest Airlines Flight 1522 flying from San Diego to Chicago on Monday night when they became disruptive and refused to comply with instructions by flight attendants. According to the affidavit, they were loud, aggressive and were using obscene language, saying their tickets gave them the right to behave as they wished.

When flight attendants denied them the alcohol they demanded, their behavior grew more aggressive and they accused the flight crew of racism, with one lunging for a flight attendant, the affidavit said.

When they began flashing hand gestures and began turning their profanity on neighboring passengers, the flight attendants asked the cockpit crew for an unscheduled landing. The flight landed at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. The six were separated from the other passengers and all flight crew members and passengers came off the plane for interviews.

The flight crew and other passengers returned to the aircraft to complete their flight to Chicago’s Midway International Airport without further incident.

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