An Alaska Airlines flight from Atlanta to Seattle was diverted to Spokane on Wednesday, July 6, 2023, after a passenger made a “direct threat” to the safety of the aircraft.
Alaska Airlines Flight AS334, operated by a Boeing 737-9 registered N948AK, was enroute from Atlanta (ATL) to Seattle (SEA), before diverting to Spokane International Airport when a direct threat was made by a male passenger to the safety of the aircraft.
The Security Incident
According to an official statement released by Alaska Airlines, a male passenger on scheduled flight AS334 made a direct threat to the safety of the aircraft to one of the flight attendants.
The airline took the threat seriously and implemented immediate measures to safeguard everyone on board. As a precautionary measure, the flight was diverted to Spokane International Airport, where it landed safely at 5:15 PM Pacific Time.
All upon its arrival, the aircraft, with 177 passengers and six crew members on board, was met by local and federal law enforcement officers
A spokesperson for the Spokane police said that the Explosives Disposal Unit, which is a cooperative between the Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, arrived at the airport just prior to the landing of the diverted flight.
Upon landing at Spokane International Airport, the flight crew then liaised with the local authorities, including law enforcement agencies and airport security personnel.
It is understood that FBI Seattle took one person into custody as a result. Details of his identity or the nature of the threat have not been released.
In general terms, security threats in the aviation sector are taken seriously by air operators and airport personnel.
The threat was deemed to be serious enough to warrant the diversion of the scheduled flight to an airport facility where appropriate law enforcement and security support was available.
Passengers were subsequently flown onward to the intended destination of Seattle aboard a substitute aircraft.
The flight subsequently arrived in Seattle at 1.00AM PDT on Thursday 6 July.