JetBlue CEO Says Troubled Captain Was ‘Consummate Professional’

Pilot subdued on flight from New York to Vegas.

Jet Blue Captain

Jet Blue Captain

By now you’ve no doubt seen the video footage of the mayhem that ensued when JetBlue Captain Clayton Osbon was locked out of the cockpit on a flight from New York to Las Vegas on Tuesday. The airline’s CEO said there were no earlier signs of trouble that could explain the pilot’s erratic behavior, describing him as a “consummate professional.”

Video shot by a passenger shows the 49-year-old Airbus captain ranting about Israel and Iran and saying, “I’m so distraught” as he is subdued in the cabin. JetBlue CEO Dave Barger described the incident as a medical situation that escalated into a security one.

“The captain’s now in the hands of medical care, obviously, under the custody of the FBI,” Barger told NBC's “Today” program. “I’ve known the captain personally for a long period of time and there's been no indication of this at all,” Barger said.

Barger said JetBlue will review its policies in the wake of the incident. Passengers described a chaotic scene in which the captain, who was locked out of the cockpit by the copilot, began banging on the door and demanding to be let back inside.

The FAA cited an "onboard medical emergency" as the reason for the airplane’s diversion to Amarillo, Texas, and said preliminary information showed the copilot became concerned after the captain had "exhibited erratic behavior” during the flight.

"The captain had exited the cockpit during the flight, after which the copilot locked the door," an FAA statement said. "When the captain attempted to enter the locked cockpit, he was subdued by passengers."