The pilot objected to the behavior of some of those on board a flight from Reagan National Airport to Phoenix in the wake of riots at the US Capitol.
- An American Airlines pilot taking passengers from Washington, DC, to Phoenix Friday warned them about their behavior.
- Videos show that passengers were chanting pro-Trump slogans before being warned against disrupting the flight.
- One captures the pilot saying: "We'll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off — I don't care."
- Flight data appears to show that the flight ultimately continued as planned. American defended the pilot in a statement.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A pilot on an American Airlines flight from Washington, DC, to Phoenix, threatened to divert the plane and strand unruly Trump fans in Kansas.
The flight was on Friday, two days after a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol, which derailed Congress's session and led to five deaths.
From the beginning of the flight, Videos show people chanting "USA" and "fight for Trump."
Trump supporter Mindy Robinson, who posted one video, described the plane as "full of patriots." One of the videos shows several passengers wearing what appear to be red Trump hats.
—Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) January 8, 2021
—a Patriot’s Point of View 🇺🇸 † (@PatriotPOV) January 9, 2021
The flight was AA 1242 from Reagan National Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor, an American Airlines spokesman confirmed to Business Insider.
This video shows the message from the pilot:
—Doctor President-elect Amanda Head (@AmandaHead) January 8, 2021
He said: "This is the way it's gonna be… it's a four and a half hour flight to Phoenix. We'll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off - I don't care. We will do that if that's what it takes, so behave, please."
As this flight path map from the tracking site FlightRadar24 shows, Kansas is about half way along the journey from DC to Phoenix.
In a statement to Business Insider, American defended the pilot's actions and suggested that some passengers had also refused to comply with the requirement to wear a mask while flying.
The statement said the pilot: "made an announcement emphasizing the importance of following crew member instructions and complying with mandatory face-covering policies."
The airline said there were no further issues during the flight. The service took off at 2:41 p.m. local time and reached Phoenix around four-and-a-half hours later, according to FlightRadar.