On Sunday evening, a passenger on Southwest Airlines flight 3172 from New Orleans to Atlanta unexpectedly opened the over-wing emergency exit door while the aircraft was still at the gate. He proceeded to jump off the plane onto the tarmac. Then he tried to drive away in a service truck.
Inside the plane became chaotic. Passengers tried to fleet for their safety, with some believing the man had left a suspicious object on the plane before his dramatic exit. Flight crew initiated a ‘rapid disembarkation’ getting passengers onto the jetbridge, avoiding a full-scale evacuation.
Here’s video from both inside the cabin and onto the jet bridge, and of the fleeing passenger arrested on the tarmac.
A Passenger has been arrested after escaping through emergency hatch on Southwest Airlines flight WN3172 operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8 at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) earlier today.
— FL360aero (@fl360aero) November 27, 2023
@homewithhann On a busy Sunday night travel day after thanksgiving break. I gotta know why he did it!! Wrong answer only… *video credit to my husband who saw it happen at the New Orleans international airport. #holidaytravel #jailtime #airplanetiktok #southwestairlines #southwest #issuesattheairport #travelersoftiktok #crazytravelstory #fyp #tiktoksawitfirst #neworleans #nolaairport #neworleansairport ♬ MONACO – Bad Bunny
The suspect passenger was arrested and taken to a hospital. The flight was delayed about two and a half hours.
Coming at the close of Thanksgiving weekend, one of the busiest travel times of the year, is a reminder that the sheer number of people traveling create the possibility of long tail events. Combined with the stress of the holidays, some people are just going to break. Maybe don’t spend so much time with extended family – followed by the prospect of time inside a metal tube?