For Plane Headed to Vacation Island, an Alarming Trip

EasyJet flight headed to Spain's Menorca gets fighter jet escort after bomb hoax
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2022 1:19 PM CDT
For Plane Headed to Vacation Island, an Alarming Trip
In this April 23, 2008, file photo, an EasyJet plane lands at the Milan Linate Airport in Italy.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)

A flight to a Spanish vacation destination turned a bit frightening for the passengers on board when a fighter jet showed up as an escort, due to a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax. An EasyJet plane out of London on Sunday left Gatwick Airport around 1pm local time, headed to the island of Menorca, but partway through the flight, an F-18 military jet—similar to the one Tom Cruise flies in Top Gun: Maverick—showed up alongside it, "waggling its wings" to signal that the EasyJet pilot should follow it, reports Reuters. Footage from the BBC shows the fighter jet's maneuvers, as well as the quiet murmurs from the passengers wondering what was happening.

"Why is it doing that, is it just showing off?" one woman was heard inquiring, per Reuters. The plane landed about 30 minutes late and was escorted to a security location, where a British 18-year-old on board the flight was arrested, per the Spanish Civil Guard. The law enforcement agency added that passengers had to get off the plane one by one and have their luggage checked by bomb-sniffing dogs and other experts. Flights out of Menorca experienced delays during the hubbub. Civil Guard officials say the teen, believed to be traveling with five friends, had made a bomb threat on social media, leading to the escort.

Aviation expert Julian Bray tells the Sun that the cost involved in "scrambling the aircraft, plus the cost of fuel" could run $60,000 or more, and that the teen could be on the hook for that. He adds that the teen could also face up to 25 years behind bars if prosecuted and convicted, as well as a ban from flying EasyJet and a possible civil suit from the airline. "The safety and security of its passengers and crew is always EasyJet's highest priority and we would like to thank passengers for their understanding," an airline spokesman says in a statement, confirming the fighter jet escort without offering many other details. (More bomb hoax stories.)

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