Two passengers aboard a Delta flight departing from LaGuardia Airport opened the aircraft's cabin door and went down the emergency slide while still on the tarmac, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed.
The pair were on Flight 462 to Atlanta Monday evening when they exited the plane as it was taxiing, the Delta spokesperson said.
Witnesses reported seeing an agitated-looking man who was traveling with the woman force open a cabin door and jump out using the emergency chute leading to the runway. He was quickly followed by the woman.
Passenger Brian Plummer told The New York Times that before they exited, the pair changed seats several times on a flight that wasn't full. The man finally stood up and ignored a flight attendant’s order to take a seat for takeoff, Plummer said.
The man told the flight attendant that he couldn't sit still because of his post-traumatic stress disorder, Plummer added.
The stunt forced the plane to return to the gate, where the other customers on board got off (this time, the normal way) and were put on other flights.
Maintenance technicians later evaluated the Airbus A321, which was scheduled to return to service later in the night. Information on possible charges for the passengers wasn't immediately available.
The incident was mildly reminiscent of the 2010 case of Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant who activated a chute during a tantrum on a plane landing at Kennedy Airport. He went on the public address system, swore at a passenger who he claimed treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and slid down onto the tarmac.
Slater was sentenced to a year of probation after completing a court-ordered treatment program.