Delta Passengers Held 3 Hours On A Plane The FBI Thought Might Have A Bomb

Passengers from Delta flight 1223 from Atlanta to Jacksonville, Florida were held on their plane in Jacksonville for 3 hours in the middle of the night after landing, and then questioned for over an hour after that, after the FAA received a bomb threat.

The flight took off just before 11:30 p.m. from Atlanta on Friday night and arrived in Florida an hour later. Passengers were told that a ‘maintenance issue’ would keep them from taxiing to their gate at first in response to a threat that had been received only about 10 minutes earlier.

Quickly a decision was made to send the aircraft to a far end of the airport rather than allowing it to get close to the terminal. In other words, the goal was to protect everyone but those on board the plane.

After about an hour 30 police hours boarded the aircraft to conduct a search, with everyone still on board. Passengers were kept on the plane which law enforcement believed might contain a bomb for a total of three hours. They didn’t want to let anyone off, of course, because they didn’t want anyone carrying the bomb with them.

It was better, apparently, to keep everyone exposed and at-risk to an explosive than to search everyone individually as they left – something that still happened anyway in the airport’s customs facility after the aircraft was cleared. Passengers were finally let go around 4:45 a.m.

No word, however, on whether passengers were given DoubleTree cookies.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I miss the days leaving the house 40 minutes before take off and getting to the airport 30 minutes later and then on the plane 4 minutes after that. It was a good life.

  2. In a crisis, government employees will go to their procedures manuals. If they follow the procedures manuals they will not be fired. If they depart from the procedures manual they are at risk of losing their generous pensions.

    The procedures manuals of various government agencies are all about controlling the situation. The fact that the government achieved complete control over this plane shows that the procedures were correctly followed. If a bomb had gone off, no government officials would have lost their pension.

  3. At least the total delay ended up about the same as driving

    More interested in the ‘credible threat’ source – that they made that call still after an hour on the ground is intriguing

  4. Only flying on the airlines are you expected to give up your constitutional rights for an essential service to travel. When are idiot Americans going to demand that the airlines and the many worthless government agencies created to make flying more miserable start obeying the laws in our country that every other business/industry is required to follow? It’s only because you put up with it that they get away with this crap.

    I am sure that plenty of brainwashed idiots are going to defend this all in the name of security. Guess what morons, the rest of us should not have to give up our rights so your simple minded self can enjoy the illusion of security you love so much.

  5. Usually Jax and their police have more common-sense then leaving everyone on the plane ?? What happened ? Did the find the caller?

  6. “Quickly a decision was made to send the aircraft to a far end of the airport rather than allowing it to get close to the terminal. In other words, the goal was to protect everyone but those on board the plane.”

    You’d rather they ;et the plane get close to the terminal and endanger everyone there as well?

  7. Atlanta-Jacksonville, and they were searched at customs?
    If necessary, why weren’t they searched before going into the terminal?

  8. This was really stupid.
    Years ago, I was on a plane out of LAX headed to JFK. The plane was only in the air for about 10 minutes and then circled back and landed. The plane was taken to a spot just off the runway. All the passengers were offloaded, searched, and taken to one large room. Then each passenger was walked out to the luggage on the ground where the pax (again) and the luggage were searched. Then each pax was quizzed in a small room by the FBI. The whole process was professional, relatively quick (much less than 3+hours) and safe for the pax. No bomb was found and alternative flights were offered to all the pax.

  9. I wonder who was on board the flight? Must have come from a Hamas email that originated in Belarus.

  10. FBI agent boards the aircraft and quickly scans the passengers for a bearded man with a diaper on his head who is sweating profusely.

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