/ 12 September 2011

Bathroom jitters lead F-16s to shadow two US flights

Sunday was a bad day to get sick on an airplane: crews aboard two US flights were so unnerved by lengthy bathroom visits that officials scrambled F-16 fighter jets to shadow the flights.

The planes landed without incident in Detroit and New York and the six passengers who exhibited the “suspicious behavior” were released without charge after being interviewed, the FBI said Monday.

Nerves were on edge as the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Three men aboard an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York caused the first disturbance after they “went into the bathroom several times during the flight,” said Tim Flannelly, a spokesperson for the FBI in New York.

It turned out that “everything was copacetic,” he said.

Two men and a woman who were sitting together — but turned out to be strangers — unnerved passengers aboard a Frontier flight from Denver to Detroit after the two men went to the bathroom at about the same time.

One of the men was not feeling well and was in there for a while.

All three were removed from the plane and questioned by the FBI. They were also released without charge and were “very cooperative,” the FBI’s Detroit office said.

The FBI also shot down rumours that the men were having sex in the bathroom, noting that “at no time were there ever two people in the bathroom at the same time”. — AFP