Authorities said 28-year-old Rageh Almurisi started pounding on the cockpit door minutes before the plane was supposed to land on Sunday. Almurisi was yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant on his way toward the cockpit.
A male flight attendant tackled him, while other crew members and passengers helped subdue him.
Passengers all around me were crying. Flight attendants were trying to soothe different passengers. We all kind of saw our lives flashing before our eyes," said witness Andrew Wai.
Almurisi is from Vallejo, just north of San Francisco. He was traveling with a Yemeni passport and a California ID card, but he appears to have no known ties to terrorism.
The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10 p.m. and the man was taken into police custody. The flight came from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, authorities said.
Almurisi remains in custody and is being questioned by authorities. A motive has not been determined.
The incident wasn't the only disturbance in U.S. airspace on Sunday. A Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago was diverted after a man from Illinois tried to open a plane door during the flight.
A Delta Airlines flight headed to San Diego was forced to land in Albuquerque because of a security scare. However, nothing suspicious was found after an extensive search.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.