Video: American Airlines pilot says he’ll divert plane and strand Trump supporters in Kansas if they don’t ‘behave’

American Airlines flight DC Phoenix January 8 Trump chant
A screengrab from a video showing passengers chanting on an American Airlines flight from Washington, DC, to Phoenix, Arizona, on January 8, 2021.
  • An American Airlines pilot taking passengers from Washington, DC, to Phoenix Friday warned them about their behavior.
  • Videos show that passengers were chanting pro-Trump slogans before being warned against disrupting the flight.
  • One captures the pilot saying: "We'll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off — I don't care."
  • Flight data appears to show that the flight ultimately continued as planned. American defended the pilot in a statement.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A pilot on an American Airlines flight from Washington, DC, to Phoenix, threatened to divert the plane and strand unruly Trump fans in Kansas.

The flight was on Friday, two days after a mob of Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol, which derailed Congress's session and led to five deaths.

From the beginning of the flight, Videos show people chanting "USA" and "fight for Trump."

Trump supporter Mindy Robinson, who posted one video, described the plane as "full of patriots." One of the videos shows several passengers wearing what appear to be red Trump hats.

The flight appears to have been AA 1242 from Reagan National Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor, the only direct American service between the two cities that day.

A later video recorded the message from the pilot:

He said: "This is the way it's gonna be… it's a four and a half hour flight to Phoenix. We'll put this plane down in the middle of Kansas and dump people off - I don't care. We will do that if that's what it takes, so behave, please."

As this flight path map from the tracking site FlightRadar24 shows, Kansas is about half way along the journey from DC to Phoenix.

Flight path January 8 AA1242
The path of flight AA 1242 on January 8, 2021, according to FlightRadar24 data.

In a statement to the New York Post, American defended the pilot's actions and suggested that some passengers had also refused to comply with the requirement to wear a mask while flying.

The statement said the pilot was "emphasizing the importance of following crew member instructions and complying with mandatory face-covering policies."

The airline said there were no further issues during the flight. The service took off at 2:41 p.m. local time and reached Phoenix around four-and-a-half hours later, according to FlightRadar.

Business Insider has contacted American for further information.

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