An American Airlines passenger is in federal lockup in North Carolina, accused of attacking a flight attendant and leaping from the jet as it prepared to take off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport .
Flight 5242 had just pulled away from the gate and the seat belt lights had flashed on when Tun Lon Sein, 22, got out of his seat and tried to force the main door open, according to a federal air marshal’s affidavit.
A flight attendant and two passengers got up to stop Sein — much like what happened on another American flight this month, when crew and passengers restrained a man whose bizarre behavior in the air prompted a bomb threat alert and caused military jets to scramble.
In this case, Sein couldn’t be restrained. He “tried to bite” the crew member trying to get him back in his seat, according to the affidavit, and went looking for another door to get off the plane.
He found one in the galley and managed to get it open, authorities say. Then, for unknown reasons, he jumped from the plane, a regional CRJ-200 jet.
Sein’s alleged actions are the latest in a string of strange and disturbing flight incidents.
Before the other American Airlines incident this month, there was the bloody deplaning of David Dao. Before that, in February, a United pilot gave a preflight rant about divorce, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — causing her passengers to flee the plane. Not to mention the many viral fits of rage or politics that have been recorded in the aisles and cramped seat space of commercial jets.
And routine flight experience may soon become even less pleasant, if recent security threats prompt U.S. authorities to ban laptops on all flights from Europe.