NYT: “U.S. Air Marshal Left Loaded Gun in an Airplane Bathroom” (Delta Flight Manchester – New York)


New York Times ran a very interesting story this morning about an Air Marshal that had forgotten her loaded gun to a lavatory on a Delta flight from Manchester to New York in early April.

Delta Air Marshall

There are currently around 4,000 Air Marshall’s whose job is to “blend” with the passengers and prevent hijackings and other incidents on commercial flights.

You can access the New York Times piece here of which below is an excerpt:

A federal air marshal on a flight earlier this month from England to New York left her loaded service weapon in the aircraft’s bathroom where a passenger found it, four marshals familiar with the incident said.

Current and former air marshals said that leaving a loaded weapon unattended constituted a significant security breach that should have resulted in discipline and an investigation.

“You can’t have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory,” said Craig Sawyer, a former air marshal. “If someone with ill intent gets hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they are now armed.”


There has been quite a few incidents lately with unintended guns that found their way to commercial flights in the United States. A Southwest pilot got caught with a gun (he didn’t go through screening) and American law enforcement employee turned in a gun at the Taipei airport that she had with her.

I was not surprised to learn that his Air Marshal program is rather costly. It represents roughly 10% of the TSA’s budget. Perhaps the money could be better spent somewhere else?

Must be a nice job? You just fly in first and business class. I would assume that the pay is good and you rarely have to do anything besides relaxing.

I have seen some security personnel on Royal Jordanian flights. Not sure if other airlines have them?

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