Southwest Airlines: Emergency Landing in Los Angeles After Passengers Fight Over Reclining Seat


A story has surfaced that a Southwest Airlines flight had to land at Los Angeles Airport because a passenger allegedly choked a woman in front of him after she reclined her seat.

SW 737

The flight returned to LAX where the offending passenger was escorted off the plane by law enforcement after which the flight was back en route to San Francisco.

The LA Times (access here) reported that the incident took plane on Southwest Airlines flight 2010 from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Flight 2010 left Los Angeles International Airport about 10:30 p.m. and landed back at the airport about 15 minutes later because of a “rapidly escalating situation” involving two passengers who weren’t traveling together, Southwest Airlines said in a statement.

Apparently one of the passengers got very physical after another passenger seated in front of him began to recline her seat.

Comedian Mark Curry, who hosts a radio show in San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area that he awoke to the victim’s shouts.

“The woman was saying he grabbed her neck. ‘He choked me, he choked me! He hit me in the head!'” Curry told the station.

Southwest described the incident as a “physical altercation by one passenger against another,” and said the pilot opted to declare an emergency on the flight to give it priority to land over other in-bound flights.

The jet returned to a gate where law enforcement was waiting. One passenger was removed from the flight, and the remaining 136 passengers continued their journey to San Francisco just after midnight. The FBI is handling the investigation and did not arrest the passenger, officials said.

Crazy altercations like these are not uncommon on Southwest Airlines. Just last month another incident on a Southwest flight occurred where six soccer players ‘acted unruly’ (NBC reported here). The flight diverted as well. In April a woman was stabbing her seatmate with a pen (see related news article here) to stop him from snoring.


All these incidents on board Southwest Airlines that pop up in the news every few months are discouraging to me to ever set foot on that airline. It just seems to attract a certain ‘crowd’.

You usually hear crazy things like these in such frequency from two countries: China and the United States. Maybe the two have more in common than some want to believe.