Jordianian Man Tries to Be a Terrorist. Discovers He Was Doing it Wrong

A Jordanian man traveling on a US passport on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Belgrade “cried out that he wished to join Allah along with all the passengers.”

Apparently he was demanding access to the cockpit:

Passengers quoted by Belgrade media said he banged on a cockpit door threatening to bring down the plane while it was flying over Austria if he was not allowed inside.

When that didn’t work he insisted he wanted to open the plane’s outer door.

“A passenger got up and tried to do something at the door, but was stopped by crew members and other passengers,” said airline spokesman Andreas Bartels.

…”It was a normal door, which of course cannot be opened in-flight… it was not the cockpit door,” he said. “The safety of the flight was not jeopardised and the flight landed safely in Belgrade”.

The man was overpowered by flight crew and the Serbian handball team who guarded him until the flight landed in Belgrade. He was then turned over to authorities.

    “Airbus A319 Lufthansa D-AILE” by Kasevutzki. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the thing. With reinforced cockpit doors, you can’t just huff and puff and blow the door down. And without a weapon you’re really not well-positioned to take down the crew or force anyone to do much of anything. You’re outnumbered.

In fact this incident apparently occurred while the plane was over Austria and yet was sufficiently non-threatening that they didn’t even bother to divert. They just continued on to their destination. In fact, “most of the passengers were unaware of the events happening in the front of the plane.” The flight even landed on time.

Terrorism of course attempts to create fear, and here passengers who were on the plane didn’t even know about the incident. This would-be terrorist didn’t even cause Lufthansa to waste resources or delay passengers.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m surprised they didn’t divert out of an abundance of caution, but the Germans do like to prove how austere they are from time to time…

  2. Hmmm…can he go ahead and join Allah quickly please? and leave the rest of us sain people alone……………Geesh.

  3. @Justin I agree it is surprising they did not divert the flight. It sounds like the passenger was mentally ill instead of a real terrorist. That being said it would have been more prudent to get the plane on the ground as fast as possible to remove the potential threat. Better safe than sorry.

  4. So the passenger was a nutty, nervous American?

    So every nutcase trying to bang down a cockpit door and saying something about religious elements is a terrorist? Sounds like he was drugged up or should’ve been drugged up better in a different way.

  5. No need to divert on such a short flight. There was no actual danger, as he was under the control of others. Of course, they might have just made a rolling touch down in Belgrade and pitched him out without actually stopping. What’s the world coming to when these things proliferate on a near daily basis?

  6. Lufthansa doesn’t need a terrorist to waste resources and delay passengers. That’s what they have their own employee strikes for.

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