Argument over $12 blanket charge prompts diversion of Hawaiian Airlines flight
LOS ANGELES — Who hasn’t complained about airline fees? Well, there’s apparently a limit to the degree a customer can gripe — especially if it happens in midair.
It this case, it seems a chilly cabin — and a dispute over cold, hard cash — sparked a heated exchange Wednesday between a passenger and an employee of Hawaiian Airlines.
The 66-year-old man threatened the worker after he was charged $12 for a blanket, said Officer Rob Pedregon, a spokesman for the police department at Los Angeles International Airport. The man insisted he should not have to pay because it was cold on the plane.
Then, during an in-flight call with an airline representative, the man said he “would like to take someone behind the woodshed for this,” Pedregon said.
Airport police cited an “unruly passenger,” and the captain diverted the Honolulu-bound flight to Los Angeles. After landing, police officers and FBI agents met with the flight crew and passenger and determined the man did not pose a serious threat.
“After questioning the parties involved, we determined no crime was committed, and there was no direct threat,” Pedregon told CNN.
Even so, the airline stuck by its decision to reroute the flight.
“Diverting a flight is clearly not our first choice, but our crew felt it was necessary in this case to divert to Los Angeles and deplane the passenger before beginning to fly over the Pacific Ocean,” Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle told CNN affiliate KCAL.
Four hours later, the plane was back in the sky. The man caught another flight to Hawaii on Thursday, Pedregon said.