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American Airlines Flight Diverted after Passenger Discharges Pepper Spray

American Airlines Flight Diverted after Passenger Discharges Pepper Spray

Old Aug 22, 23, 10:46 am
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American Airlines Flight Diverted after Passenger Discharges Pepper Spray

How did they get it through a TSA security checkpoint?

Oy: American Flight Diverts Over Pepper Spray Incident
According to this report, about half an hour into the flight, passengers and flight attendants in the back of the plane started coughing and couldnt see. No one knew what was happening, so the flight attendant got on the PA to state that if anyone knew what was in the air, they needed to speak up. A short time later, the decision was made to divert to Jacksonville.

When it was clear how seriously this situation was being taken, someone came forward and claimed they had accidentally used pepper spray. The claim was that they had mistaken pepper spray for something else (either sanitizer or lotion), which is of course a highly suspect claim.
Turns out it may be racially motivated and now AA and PD is taking the matter that much more seriously. Multiple passengers are talking about and agreeing that it was. Across from the Italian family was a Black family with a baby. A few people said they heard the spray go off and the teen son giggle about it and look across the aisle to the other family. Others are describing being asleep and waking up coughing.
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Old Aug 22, 23, 5:53 pm
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Holy frijoles. I'd be in a very bad way if I were on that flight; I'm asthmatic, and pepper spray is no joke even for healthy people, but I've been told it can be fatal for asthmatics.

I believe it. I was once in a record store back in the 90s when someone decided it would be funny to spritz a little pepper spray in the store. The effect on me was instant and terrifying - my lungs simply stopped taking in air. I panicked and ran out of the store, and within a few minutes my breathing returned to normal, so my guess is that I was on the periphery of the spray. I was at least ten or fifteen feet from the closest person - and I don't even know if it was they who sprayed it - so if it was just a tiny squirt, I'd have been on the outer edge of the effective zone. But wow... it hurt. And it was terrifying. It was only later, after I had gotten outside to my car and my breathing returned to normal, that I realized what had happened.

The Reddit thread linked in the article has a lot of info from a couple of people who were on board during the incident, and it's sounding like it may have been intentional - done as a prank by one pax/family against a specific other pax/family.
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Old Aug 22, 23, 11:45 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA884
How did they get it through a TSA security checkpoint?
First of all, I can’t imagine any planet on which someone could mistake pepper spray for lotion or hand sanitizer. I’m sorry, but that’s simply not believable. It’s also worth mentioning that while the TSA bans bringing pepper spray through security checkpoints, it’s not surprising that people could pretty easily bring it onboard, since in the scanner it probably just looks like any other liquid.
I find this paragraph believable, yet not surprising.
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Old Aug 23, 23, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by TWA884
Why right through the TSA screeners who are more concerned about confiscating harmless bottled water.
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Old Aug 23, 23, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by TWA884
How did they get it through a TSA security checkpoint?
Ha ha. What's even more concerning: since we know TSA misses detecting 90% of all WEI, why did none of the other pax use their TSA-missed firearms or other weapons to subdue the alleged hateful family that discharged the pepper spray?
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Old Aug 23, 23, 9:51 am
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I recall another incident this summer where someone got a can of bear spray through security, dumped it in a trash can airside and it then exploded. I want to say it was MCI in late June or early July.

Edited to correct:
It was BNA in April
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