A Honolulu-bound Hawaiian Airlines flight was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport when an “unruly” passenger threatened to “take somebody behind the woodshed” over the cost of an in-flight blanket, according to officials.
The 66-year-old man had gotten into an argument with the crew over the blanket’s price tag aboard the flight from Las Vegas to Honolulu on Wednesday, said Rob Pedregon, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.
Authorities said the blanket cost $12, though it is listed for $10 on Hawaiian’s website.
Pedregon said airport police and FBI agents met the flight at LAX and escorted the passenger off the plane. But he was released to find another flight after authorities determined it was simply a business dispute, Pedregon said.
The passenger was not a threat, Pedregon said, joking that there was “no woodshed on board.”
The man has not been identified because, Pedregon said, he was not charged with a crime.
The airport police spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the passenger asked crew members for a blanket because he was chilly. When he was told what it would cost him, Pedregon said, he became irate and argued he should not have to pay for it because the plane was too cold.
The man asked to speak with Hawaiian’s corporate headquarters and, during that call, he told a company representative, “I would like to take somebody behind the woodshed for this,” Pedregon told The Post.
Another passenger, George Enriques, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the man told him: “They’re not treating me right. I’m going to call the president.”
Pedregon said airline staffers felt threatened, so the pilot diverted the plane.
Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle said, “We don’t know the demeanor of the passenger, what was said, or the tone.”
But, she said, “I think it’s important to put ourselves in the position of the captain, who is in the cockpit about to begin a five-hour flight over the Pacific, when he or she is informed of an issue in the back of the plane. Based on the information they are provided, the call has to be made immediately: What is best for the crew and the passengers on board?”
In a statement provided earlier to the media, Hawaiian Airlines said:
Our flight crews are responsible for the safety and comfort of all passengers on board our flights and the Captain in charge of the aircraft is entrusted with determining when it’s best to deplane an anxious or unruly passenger. Diverting a fight is clearly not our first choice, but our crew felt it was necessary in this case to divert to Los Angeles and deplane the passenger before beginning to fly over the Pacific Ocean.
Croyle said the airline offers complimentary blankets in all cabins on international flights and on certain red-eye flights.
But during daytime flights between the West Coast and Hawaii, blankets are complimentary only in first class and “extra comfort” cabins, she said.
In economy, they are available for purchase.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” Eileen Berstrom, another passenger, told CBS News. “First of all, it costs $12,000 for them to land here, and it’s a $12 blanket.”
In-flight dust-ups are hardly uncommon — but they have increasingly centered on politics, not price tags.
Following the contentious presidential election, America’s divisions have been on full display in a staggering array of situations and spaces — including airplanes.
Late last year, Delta banned a passenger after he went on a pro-Trump rant.
In January, an Alaska Airlines traveler verbally bashed a Trump supporter — and was bounced from the plane.
That same month, prosecutors said a traveler attacked a Muslim airline employee, warning her that Trump “will get rid of all of you.”
On a United Airlines flight just last month, a pilot gave a bizarre speech before takeoff — prompting dozens of concerned passengers to flee the plane.
Days later, passengers rejoiced when a man was kicked off a Houston-bound United flight for causing a disturbance that was blamed on racist comments.
Cellphone footage of the incident showed the man saying that all the “illegals” should be kicked off the plane, moments before he and a woman were asked to collect their belongings and exit the aircraft.
“Get out of here,” a passenger said. “Racists aren’t welcome in America! This is not Trump’s America!”
Most recently, a celebrity dentist said he was booted from an American Airlines flight after he made a wisecrack about Trump’s immigration policies.