Masked Man Storms Onto Plane and Demands to be Taken to Paris, Authorities Say

A masked man stormed onto a Southwest Airlines flight in Chicago and demanded that the plane be taken to Paris, authorities said..

The man, who was later identified as 24-year-old Malik Conneh, boarded the flight at Midway International Airport on Sunday afternoon and sat in an empty seat near the front of the plane, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Chicago..

Conneh then put on a black mask and approached the cockpit, where he began banging on the door and demanding that the pilots take the plane to Paris, the complaint said..

The pilots refused to comply, and Conneh then went back to his seat and sat down..

A flight attendant approached Conneh and asked him to remove his mask, but he refused. The flight attendant then called the police, who met the plane when it landed at O’Hare International Airport..

Conneh was taken into custody and charged with interfering with a flight crew. He appeared in court on Monday and was ordered held without bond..

If convicted, Conneh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison..

According to the complaint, Conneh has a history of mental illness and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He has also been arrested several times in the past for disorderly conduct and other offenses..

The incident on Sunday was the latest in a series of disruptive incidents on airplanes in recent months. In April, a man was arrested after he allegedly tried to open the door of a Southwest Airlines flight while it was in the air. In May, a woman was arrested after she allegedly assaulted a flight attendant on a United Airlines flight..

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reported a sharp increase in unruly passenger incidents this year. The FAA has received more than 3,000 reports of unruly passengers so far in 2021, compared to just 146 reports in 2019..

The FAA has taken several steps to address the increase in unruly passenger incidents, including increasing the number of air marshals on flights and increasing the fines for unruly passengers..

The FAA has also proposed new regulations that would allow the agency to impose civil penalties of up to $35,000 on passengers who interfere with flight crews or other passengers..

The proposed regulations are currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget. If approved, the regulations would go into effect later this year..

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