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Refusal to Stow Carry-On Means Fighter Jet Escorts

According to reports, a disruptive Hawaiian Airlines passenger "made threatening remarks" and refused to stow his carry-on luggage, leading to two F-15 fighter jets escorting the Hawaii-bound planeback to Portland. The 56-year-old Salem, Ore. man was not identified. It's not clear what the disruption was, with only one report saying the man was holding a duffle bag and wanted a note passed to the pilot.
Despite being interrogated by federal officials, the airline said the man was not a threat. Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner told reporters, "This is kind of a routine passenger disturbance on board, a guy is being taken off the flight, but it's not of any particular concern."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command reported that it wasn't clear what kind of threat or disruption was on the flight, and the two jet fighters were sent as a precaution.

Perhaps I'm misreading the situation, but a kooky guy was on board and might have triggered the flight crew's spidey senses -- but where did we get from "disruptive passenger" to NORAD stepping in? Would the same have happened if a passenger were drunk?

Recent events have made the industry -- as well as the federal government -- more reactive to threats, both good and bad. While flight crews might be more hyper-aware, I would hope that everyone is also using common sense in categorizing threats. It also is apparent that NORAD is upping its profile after the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Delta Flight 253.

Perhaps that's what we have here, both our government and commercial airlines showing they take security and threats seriously. Just make sure you don't question or argue with a flight attendant, or you may find yourself spending the better part of a day with federal agents.

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