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Passenger tries to enter cockpit, forces flight to reroute

The flight was headed to Washington, D.C. but had to land in Kansas City.
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Posted at 12:06 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 17:19:11-05

A man is now charged after police said his behavior caused a flight to reroute.

The American Airlines flight that was on its way to Washington, D.C. had to turn around Sunday.

The plane had to be rerouted to Kansas City.

The flight took off from Los Angeles when a passenger started interfering with the flight crew, according to the Kansas City Aviation Department.

"The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival," American Airlines told CNN.

Juan Rivas is now charged with one count of assaulting and intimidating a flight attendant.

An affidavit from the Justice Department states that Rivas walked up to the cockpit area, was holding plastic silverware in his shirt sleeve "like a shank" and attempted to break a champagne bottle, which he was holding by the neck.

He then went on to kick and shove the service cart into a flight attendant.

The affidavit says that he also grabbed onto the handle of the starboard aircraft exit door, and began pulling on it.

A flight attendant interfered and used a coffee pot to hit the man over the head.

Passengers and flight attendants restrained Rivas and secured his hands and feet with zip ties and duct tape, according to the DOJ.

Police and FBI agents came on board when the plane landed in Kansas City.

Rivas' hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Other passengers had to be rescheduled for another flight.

The incident comes as the FAA and airlines deal with a surge of unruly passengers.

In 2021, there were 5,981 reports of unruly passengers.

Most of those cases were related to people refusing to wear masks.

Jack Anstine at KSHB in Kansas City contributed to this story.