Jet Blue Flight At LAX Halted For “Unauthorized Person”

Jet Blue Flight At LAX Halted For
An "unauthorized person" who turned out to be an off-duty pilot trying to catch a flight delayed a JetBlue flight to New York several hours while the plane was searched by police and a bomb squad. Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 (UPI) — An “unauthorized person” delayed a JetBlue flight at Los Angeles International Airport several hours Thursday while the plane was searched by police and a bomb squad, airport police said.

The plane, which had no crew or passengers at the time, was searched as well as the terminal. The person was eventually found to be an off-duty pilot trying to catch a flight to New York, officials said.

JetBlue flight 24 to New York was scheduled to depart at 6:30 a.m. An LAX worker reported talking to a man in a pilot’s uniform at 6 a.m. on one of the terminal’s jet bridges, a secured ramp passengers and crew use to get between the terminal gate and plane when boarding and un-boarding. The man then walked away.

Because there were no passengers or crew aboard the plane at the time, the worker mistook the man as someone masquerading as a pilot and called the airport police.

“Out of an abundance of caution, aircraft and luggage onboard flight 24 from LAX to JFK are being rescreened following a potential security issue,” JetBlue said in a statement.

The plane was towed to the west end of the airfield and inspected by the bomb squad. Once the plane and its baggage was cleared at 10:15 a.m., the plane was towed back to the terminal and left for New York at 11:30 a.m.

The off-duty pilot was listed on the flight manifest for what is called a “non-revenue” flight, a perk some airlines allow in which pilots can fly free, said Robert Pedregon of LAX’s airport police.

But because the off-duty pilot, who has not been named, decided he didn’t want to wait for that flight and took another to New York, it took much longer for police to figure out what happened.

“Bomb, terrorists – in this day and age that’s the first thing that goes through my mind, something going down at the airport and it can’t be good,” JetBlue passenger Pam Biscoe said.


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