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66-year-old removed from flight over reaction to blanket's price

CBS News logo CBS News 9/03/2017
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LOS ANGELES -- A flight from Las Vegas to Hawaii was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday morning over what police say was a passenger’s reaction to the price of an in-flight blanket, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 7 was a few miles off the Southern California coast when an unidentified 66-year-old passenger requested a blanket and was told the cost would be $12, according to Los Angeles Airport Police.

A Hawaiian Airlines jet taxis out to the runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 14, 2006.: A Hawaiian Airlines jet is shown in Phoenix in 2006. A Hawaiian flight was diverted after a man got angry on Wednesday. © Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images A Hawaiian Airlines jet is shown in Phoenix in 2006. A Hawaiian flight was diverted after a man got angry on Wednesday.

Witnesses said the man argued he should not have to pay for a blanket because it was so cold. The passenger became upset and asked for the phone number to Hawaiian’s corporate headquarters to complain. According to police, he made an in-flight call to the airline and said, “I’d like to take someone behind the woodshed for this.”

While there was no physical altercation, crew members refused service and the pilot made the decision to dump fuel in order to land at LAX at 10:15 a.m., police said. The man was escorted off the flight. Passengers recorded the lockdown on their cellphones.

“I thought it was ridiculous,” traveler Eileen Berstrom said. “First of all, it costs $12,000 for them to land here, and it was a $12 blanket.”

After police and federal authorities took the man into the terminal, they determined he was not a threat and released him without filing charges. The man was able to fly to Hawaii on a different airline, police said.

The airline released the following statement regarding the incident:

“Diverting a flight is clearly not our first choice, but our crew felt it was necessary in this case to divert to Los Angeles and deplane the passenger before beginning to fly over the Pacific Ocean.”

Flight 7 eventually left LAX and arrived in Honolulu nearly four hours behind schedule.

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