Report: Emirates Flight To Newark Forced To Turn Back, U.S. Believed Terrorist On Board

Emirates doesn’t just operate flights from Dubai. It flies two routes between the U.S. and Europe, Newark – Athens and New York JFK – Milan.

Today’s flight from Athens to Newark was 90 minutes into its flight when it held over Sardinia. The Boeing 777 then took an overwater route back to Athens, reportedly unable to gain clearance to fly over France or Italy. As the aircraft entered Greek airspace, their Air Force scrambled jets to intercept and escort it down.

Media in Greece say that the U.S. had reason to believe a terrorist was on board the aircraft. They specifically cite CIA information as the reason for the demand that the aircraft turn around, although it’s not clear why they would know this.

Once on the ground, passengers who originated in Athens were allowed off the aircraft, while those who had originated in Dubai and connected in Athens were required to stay on board. Normally all passengers would be kept together, out of fear that the target would be misidentified if some were allowed to leave.

The U.S. government would have cleared the plane’s manifest and all passengers enroute to to Newark prior to the aircraft taking off. So either there was a mistake made along the way, or confusion about the identity of a passenger who may have been on board (or whether it was indeed the person of concern). Often decisions are made ‘out of an abundance of caution’ though this one seemed a bit more cautious than usual, keeping the aircraft over water rather than land. It’ll be interesting to see whether we ever get the real story.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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. Terrorists are often those who call out others as being terrorists. Can we now flag Jerry as a suspected terrorist and have her/him subject to haraSSSSment screening on all future flights subject to US jurisdiction? Can someone “stand their ground” and do a “ready fire aim” game against such suspected terrorist and get away with it a la Kyle Rittenhouse? Did Kyle Rittenhouse find inspiration from the words of Jerry’s messiah Lord Trump: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay”?

  2. Kyle rid the USA of two deadbeat mouth breathers, play stupid games win stupid prizes. Guwonder your odds would be 50/50 is that a bet you would be willing to take for the team.

  3. The deadbeat mouth-breather was that Illinois mamma’s boy Kyle Rittenhouse going out of state to play KKK-inspired, gun-rotting wannabe vigilante and killing two local Wisconsin guys who freaked out when seeing the teenage freak playing vigilante defender out of state.

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