Several hacker-type accounts on Twitter announced threats to several flights on Monday, leading JetBlue to pull one flight back to the gate due to the safety of passengers, the airline said in a statement.
A Twitter account that includes an expletive issued a handful of tweets threatening five flights, including flight 321 that was due to take off from Boston for West Palm Beach, Fla., at 7:35 p.m.
The account tweeted to JetBlue at about 7 p.m. ET, “Guys, flight 321 and 334 have explosives on board, and you don’t care? It’s going to be funny watching them fall out of the sky.”
JetBlue Airways Corp. spokeswoman Sebastian White issued the following statement: “Flight 321 from Boston to Palm Beach returned to the gate prior to takeoff earlier this evening due to a security situation. While we believe the threat to be non-credible, the safety of our customers is our first priority. We are cooperating with law enforcement officials who determine the appropriate security response.”
JetBlue flight 334 travels from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Orlando, Fla., and arrived 15 minutes late but safely on Monday night, according to the Flight Aware website.
In all, the Twitter account threatened five flights on Monday evening.
The account also sent a tweet to US Airways warning, “US Airways Flight 1721 has a semi-nuclear explosive on board. EVACUATE NOW!”
The flight that travels evenings from Philadelphia to New Orleans landed safely Monday night and even arrived 10 minutes early, Matt Miller, spokesman for US Airways parent company American Airlines, said by telephone. Tuesday night’s flight has been cancelled because flights out of Philadelphia International Airport are suspended due to blizzard conditions, Miller said.
The airline’s social media team passes on details of all threatening tweets to law enforcement, Miller said.
Earlier Monday, about a half dozen hacker-type accounts, one claiming to represent the ISIS “Penguins,” tweeted threats against several commercial flights, including Southwest flight 4200 from San Diego to Dallas, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas. The plane landed without incident, the news organization reported.
Security concerns prompted the diversion of one commercial flight and evacuation of at least two others Sunday.
A Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Orlando was diverted Sunday to Dallas after what reports say was a bomb threat made via Twitter.
Separately, in Seattle, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said a JetBlue flight from Long Beach, Calif., and a regional SkyWest jet from Phoenix were evacuated amid security concerns. The planes landed safely as scheduled.
Cooper said that out of an abundance of caution, passengers were bused to their gates from the airport’s third runway. He provided no other details but said an investigation was underway.