Keanu Reeves's flight makes an emergency landing — and he takes a road trip home with a bunch of strangers

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Keanu Reeves made the most of a travel snafu over the weekend — and also made some new friends. (Photo: Getty Images)

Keanu Reeves knows how to handle an emergency situation on the big screen — and in real life.

Over the weekend, a United flight the John Wick star, 54, was traveling aboard from San Francisco to Burbank in Los Angeles made an emergency landing in Bakersfield. While it landed safely and there were no injuries, there was confusion as logistics were worked out. Video showed the actor, a seasoned traveler for work, stepping up to help with travel arrangements and then taking a van with other passengers to their final destination, Los Angeles, because it was quicker to drive than fly.

“That time when your flight out from [the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco] almost crashes and you have to emergency land in a remote airport but at least Keanu Reeves is having as bad a day as you are,” wrote fellow passenger Amir Blum, the co-creator of the game studio Unboxed Experience. He added, “I mean, near death experience followed by fans annoying you for pictures. Doesn’t get much worse.”


An Instagram story shared by L.A. based freelancer artist Brian Rea gave an amusing play-by-play. He wrote that a “pleasant” Reeves chatted with flight crew, they all boarded the plane, seatbelts were fastened and passengers nodded off — only to be awoken as the plane was diverted to Meadows Field Airport, which is two hours north of Los Angeles. Keanu, wearing his favorite Arch motorcycle company hat, was “cool” though as next steps were figured out — even when they announced passengers would be taking a bus. (Yes, a bus ride with the Speed star.)

You kind of have to watch both of these to fully understand what was going on. One has sound, one doesn’t:



The second video has highlights from the ride to L.A. — which was in more of a van rather than the bus he famously rode with Sandra Bullock. The details were mundane, but in the most interesting of ways. Along the ride, Reeves dryly read fun facts about Bakersfield to his fellow passengers. “The population is around 380,000…”

Then he put on some “Bakersfield sounds” — country music developed in the 1950s in and around the city — via YouTube. The internet was intrigued by his phone and YouTube use.

Perhaps the most riveting bit was learning that Reeves declined to get food at the airport Blimpies, which airport personnel opened for the passengers because the airport was otherwise closed. However, on the ride back he did score “Gatorade, a water and a banana,” which he reported to his travel pals.

When the first passenger was dropped off, Reeves politely extended his hand and said, “Pleasure to meet you.” The last shot, in the second video, was Reeves walking into a Carl’s Jr. after the very long day.

“SkyWest Flight 5223, operating as United Express from San Francisco to Burbank on Saturday, March 23, diverted to Bakersfield due to a mechanical indication,” SkyWest Airlines Corporate Communications told Yahoo in a statement. “The flight landed safely without incident in Bakersfield. Passengers deplaned normally at the gate and were then transported via ground transportation to Burbank.”

Rea didn’t want to elaborate on his funny story to Yahoo Entertainment, saying only that Reeves — and all the other passengers — were “incredibly kind, lovely people.” Reeves’s rep hasn’t commented either.

And in subsequent tweets, Blum wrote that, despite the scare, “it was a great day” and the airline took care of the passengers.



Reeve’s latest film, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, opens on May 17 and sees him working with Halle Berry. Here’s hoping his flights are smoother as he promotes it.


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