An Easyjet flight heading from London to the Spanish holiday island of Menorca was intercepted by a Spanish F-18 fighter jet after a British teenager onboard made a bomb threat on social media.
Footage of the incident showed an F-18 jet flying close to the distinctive orange wingtips of the commercial airline’s A-319 aircraft, which typically carries between 120 and 150 passengers.
The 18-year-old, who was traveling with five friends, spent the night in jail and is awaiting a court hearing, said a spokesman for Spain’s Civil Guard police.
Sniffer dogs and specialist officers had raced to the scene to assess the situation, concluding that the bomb threat had been fake.
Travelers were held on the runway for four hours after landing half an hour late on the Spanish Balearic island.
Military planes usually intercept civilian aircraft when ground air traffic control loses contact with them or there is a perceived threat to the aircraft or passengers either because of a bomb warning, suspicious object or feared terrorist activity.
In the video, the pilot can be seen tipping the wings at the EasyJet plane – code for ‘follow me’.
The F18 fighter jet is famous for being flown in Tom Cruise’s new film Top Gun: Maverick.
Capable of supersonic speeds up to 1,190mph, they have the ability to carry a variety of weapons including air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and air-to-ground missiles.
They are used by the Spanish Air Force and the US Marine Corps among others.