Passenger charged after Alaska Airlines flight diverts to Kansas City

An Alaska Airlines 737 MAX aircraft in flight.
Sam Almo-Milkin, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A passenger aboard an Alaska Airlines flight has been charged in a federal criminal complaint after the scheduled flight was forced to divert from its course and land at Kansas City International Airport (KCI) last week.

A 32 year-old woman was charged with one count of interfering with flight crew members and attendants in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., last week on Friday, April 7.

Flight 456 incident

An affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint alleges that the accused woman interfered with the duties of flight attendants while she was a passenger aboard Alaska Airlines flight 456.

The flight was scheduled for nonstop service from San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, to Chicago O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill.

However, the flight was diverted into Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo., at approximately 4:20 a.m. last Friday, April 7.

According to the affidavit, the female passenger, who had been disruptive during the flight, was involved in a confrontation with a male flight attendant, allegedly “cussing and yelling and threatening to kill him.”

 A flight attendant, with the assistance of two passengers, used zip ties to restrain her. One of the passengers switched seats with a mother and her infant who was seated directly in front of aggressive female passenger for their safety.


The pilot decided to divert to Kansas City instead of going to Chicago because he was concerned for the safety of the passengers.

The charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Blackwood. It was investigated by the FBI.

About Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is a major American airline based in Seattle, Washington. It was founded in 1932 as McGee Airways and started operations as Alaska Airlines in 1944.

Today, the airline operates flights to more than 115 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

It is known for its extensive network of routes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as well as its partnership with other airlines, including American Airlines and British Airways.

Alaska Airlines operates a fleet of more than 300 aircraft, including Boeing 737s and Embraer E175s. The airline offers a variety of classes of service, including first class, premium class, and main cabin, and has a frequent flyer program called Mileage Plan.

In recent years, Alaska Airlines has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

In 2020, the airline announced its goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and it has taken a number of steps to reduce its environmental impact, such as investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft and implementing recycling programs.

Overall, Alaska Airlines is a well-regarded airline known for its customer service, reliability, and extensive route network in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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