Discuss as:

US Airways security threat hoax was 'pretty nasty trick' played on passenger, officials say

The security scare that resulted in a US Airways jet returning to Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning was the result of "a pretty nasty trick played on a passenger," police said. NBC's Pete Williams reports.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET: The security scare that resulted in a US Airways jet returning to Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning was the result of "a pretty nasty trick played on a passenger," authorities said.

But it appears police had the last laugh.

The man taken off the jet and questioned was the victim of a hoax, apparently performed because Thursday was his birthday, officials said. It's still not clear whether a social media posting was involved. But a telephone call was placed to Philadelphia police, claiming that he was trying to "smuggle" something to Texas.


The US Airways flight en route to Dallas-Fort Worth returned to Philadelphia International after law enforcement officials learned there could be a suspicious item on board. The airline learned of the potential threat from the FBI, US Airways spokesperson Davien Anderson told NBC News. 

Flight 1267 took off in Philadelphia and returned shortly before 9 a.m. ET out of an "abundance of caution," Anderson said.

The cost of the hoax will cost US Airways "upwards of tens of thousands of dollars in direct and indirect costs," the airline said. Sixty-nine passengers were on the Airbus A319, and were being rebooked on other flights.

When the man at the center of the hoax got to Dallas late Thursday, he was arrested by local police.

He was wanted on several existing warrants in Texas for offenses having nothing to do with the hoax. When he became famous Thursday because of the plane hoax, and police in Texas discovered he was coming their way, they prepared to meet him at the airport and take him into custody on unfinished business.

Federal officials were not certain of the nature of the existing warrants. 

A US Airways flight bound for Dallas-Fort Worth returned to Philadelphia International Airport following a security alert. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

NBC News' justice correspondent Pete Williams contributed to this report. 

 More content from NBCNews.com:

Follow US News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and Facebook