FAA investigating ‘unruly passenger’ after Jacksonville flight diverted to Raleigh-Durham airport

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — American Airlines flight 3444 departing from Jacksonville on Wednesday was diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for a disruptive passenger.

The flight, which was heading to Washington D.C., was first diverted to Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 2:32 p.m. before receiving instructions to head to RDU.


After landing at 3:41 p.m. in Raleigh, law enforcement immediately boarded once the plane pulled into gate C9. Officials took the suspect into custody.

FlightAware shows American Airlines flight 3444 diverting to RDU.

Update 3:26 p.m. EST Feb. 24: The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Police Department has dismissed the charges they had filed against Tiffany Miles, WRAL reported.

Miles had been facing a misdemeanor.

“After continued investigation regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident and review of eyewitness statements, plus in-depth consultation with the Wake County District Attorney, RDU law enforcement have dismissed the [charge],” airport officials said, according to WRAL.

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Miles told the television station that she is relieved that the charges were dismissed.

“I know I didn’t do anything wrong, so it’s the same reaction,” Miles told WRAL.

The dismissal of Miles’ charge does not preclude further action by the appropriate federal agencies, RDU told WRAL.

Original story below:

The FAA posted on Twitter about the situation.

CBS News reported that a passenger tried to get into the cockpit and that American Eagle flight 3444 was diverted “due to a security concern involving an unruly customer,” American Airlines said in a statement.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said it was a “Level 4 disruption” in a tweet on Wednesday.

CNN reported that police relayed that the passenger tried to breach the cockpit and was “being somewhat restrained by the flight crew and other passengers.”

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An FAA spokesperson told CNN that the passenger “did not breach it” but “did run at it.”

Members of law enforcement boarded the plane once it landed and got to the gate, arresting the woman who was said to have been experiencing a panic attack, CNN reported.

The woman arrested has been identified as 36-year-old Tiffany Miles from Washington, D.C. According to an arrest warrant obtained from CBS 17 in Raleigh, Miles was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor airport obstruction illegal.

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Miles told WRAL she was trying to go to the bathroom at the front of the plane near the cockpit when she got into an argument with a flight attendant.

She claims she has anxiety and tried to order a cocktail, but an attendant said there was no drink service on the flight. WRAL reported that the attendant would not ask the captain why there was no drink service on the flight.

Miles said she got up and was trying to use the bathroom when a flight attendant stopped her. A fellow passenger tried to calm her down. Five minutes later, Miles said the crew used zip ties on her and placed her in the back of the plane until it landed.

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“I started freaking out because so many people started getting up on me,” Miles told WRAL. “I started freaking completely out, ‘This is not called for.’”

Miles has been released from custody and allowed to return to Washington, D.C., WRAL reported.

Natalie Dreier from the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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