MINNEAPOLIS - Two Northwest Airline pilots flew their plane full of passengers 150 miles past their destination Wednesday night, the New York Times said.

Timothy B. Cheney, 53, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Richard I. Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore., flew Northwest Flight 188 for an hour and 150 miles past their Minneapolis-St. Paul destination with 144 passengers on-board, the Star Tribune said.

Air traffic controllers tried to gain contact with the two pilots for nearly 90 minutes through radio, email, data text, and cell phone, and upon no communication, they put four military fighter jets on alert, the New York Times said.

The pilots claimed that they were distracted by a conversation and were not asleep, the Star Tribune said.

Delta Airlines, which merged with Northwest last year, has suspended the pilots', and the Federal Aviation Administration reported Saturday that it might suspend the pilots' licenses as well, the New York Times said.

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