American Airlines passengers tackle and restrain man for trying to open plane door mid-flight

A man had to be tackled and restrained by other passengers on board an American Airlines flight after he “aggressively” tried to open the plane door mid-flight.

The flight, AA1219 from Albuquerque to Chicago, was 30 minutes into its almost three-hour journey on Tuesday (20 February) when the man attempted to open the emergency exit door.

Four law enforcement officers escorted the man to the tarmac (Layzdubz/X)
Four law enforcement officers escorted the man to the tarmac (Layzdubz/X)

Six men reportedly “wrestled” the man to the aisle floor before duct-taping his legs and restraining him with flexi-cuffs.

Several of the passengers onboard took to X (formerly Twitter) to describe the commotion.

Fellow flyer The Wonton Don (@DonnieDoesWorld) said: “30 minutes after departing Albuquerque I was shaken out of my Panda Express and Tequila-induced stupor by a man trying to aggressively open the airplane door 4 rows back.”

“One of the scariest days of my life,” wrote Lay Z (@layzdubz), who added that a “huge gush of wind” came “out of nowhere” when the man opened the emergency exit door.

The plane was safely turned around for an emergency landing back in Albuquerque.

Video footage shows the man being escorted from the plane to the tarmac in handcuffs by four law enforcement officers.

American Airlines told The Independent: “Flight 1219 with service from Albuquerque (ABQ) to Chicago (ORD) returned to ABQ shortly after takeoff due to a disturbance in the cabin involving a disruptive customer.

“The flight landed safely and the aircraft was met by local law enforcement upon arrival.”

This disruption follows similar incidents in the cabin over the last year.

A Ryanair flight from Zadar to London Stansted in July saw a man restrained by other passengers after he became disruptive and tried to open the door moments before take-off.

In September, a passenger was detained at Agartala airport in northeastern India after allegedly trying to open an aircraft door.

The series of incidents even prompted new pre-takeoff warnings for South Korean travellers in November.

Airlines will be required to warn passengers against opening aircraft doors, according to new operating guidelines, to avoid any attempts to open the emergency exits while flying.