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Southwest Airlines Passengers Held After Plane Diverts to Amarillo

Six people were detained after an altercation involving "disorderly" passengers ended with a Southwest Airlines plane diverting to a Texas airport.

Six people were detained after a midair dispute involving unruly passengers ended with a Chicago-bound Southwest Airlines plane diverting to a Texas airport, officials said.

Police were dispatched to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport after receiving a call for assistance from authorities at 10:20 p.m. (11:20 p.m. ET) Monday night, emergency communications center supervisor Anthony Sotelo told NBC News.

A large group of passengers became disorderly during on Flight 1522 from San Diego to Chicago's Midway International Airport and "refused to obey instructions from the crew," Southwest Airlines said in a statement.


The pilots then diverted the flight to Amarillo, "where law enforcement officials met the aircraft and detained six individuals," the airline said.

Another six members of the group got off the plane and remained in Amarillo while the flight took off for Chicago, where it landed without any problems, Southwest said.

The six individuals were detained at around 2:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET) Tuesday, Sotelo said.

“More or less they were just yelling and being loud," one passenger, Caitlin O'Sullivan, told NBC News in a Twitter exchange. "They were yelling to friends that were sitting farther up in the plane. They didn't turn their phones to airplane mode when asked and the flight attendants had to ask them a few times to turn them off.”

Another passenger, Tiffany Darge, said the unruly group comprised about 25 people, some of whom sat near her. She and other passengers grew uncomfortable about "the excessive amount of disrespect coming from the individuals," she told NBC News on Twitter. She said they asked for alcohol but the attendants refused. They then accused her of treating them unfairly, Darge said.

At one point, Darge said, she got into an argument with some of them, who in turn "verbally harassed" her. She said she yelled at them, got up from her seat, and was told not to move. "The next time I did I was escorted off the plane by officers in Texas," Darge said.