Showing posts with label disruptive pax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disruptive pax. Show all posts

Monday, June 23, 2008

JetBlue passenger behaves badly -- REALLY badly

Hardly a week goes by when there are no reports in the news about passengers behaving badly in flight (and we all know that many such stories never get reported by the press). A recent story about a disruptive passenger on a JetBlue flight seemed worse than most. Of course, as is so often the case, the incident centered on an intoxicated passenger.

JetBlue AirwaysOn June 17, 2008, a 35 year old woman passenger on JetBlue Flight JBU643 decided to smoke a cigarette during the transcontinental flight between New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO). She was seated in an exit row on the Airbus A320, and that is where she reportedly lit up.

When a flight attendant intervened, asking the woman to extinguish the cigarette, she allegedly became belligerent and abusive. She was forcibly moved to a seat away from the exit row and was restrained. In fact, she was restrained twice, since she managed to break free the first time. In the course of the altercation, the intoxicated passenger allegedly punched a JetBlue flight attendant in the jaw, and also shouted abusive language at him, including racial slurs.

The flight was diverted to Denver International Airport, where the belligerent woman was arrested. All the awful details of this incident can be found in the FBI affidavit posted on

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Man indicted for in-flight assault on United Airlines flight attendant

United Airlines Boeing 747A man who allegedly assaulted a United Airlines flight attendant in April has been indicted by a federal grand jury, and was to be arraigned today. The incident happened on April 23, 2008 on United Airlines Flight UAL862 while the aircraft, a Boeing 747-400, was en route from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

According to an FBI press release, dated May 22, 2008:

James Allen Cameron, 49, of Anaheim, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday [May 20] and he surrendered today [May 22]. Cameron allegedly had to be restrained in his seat by passengers and crew members during the flight.

A grand jury in Los Angeles returned an indictment on May 20th which charged Cameron with one count of Interference with a Flight Crew, a violation of Title 49, Section 46504, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, and one count of assault, a violation of Title 49, Section 113 (a) (4), which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

Cameron was afforded an initial appearance in U.S. District Court today [May 22] and posted $50,000 bond. An arraignment has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 27 th.

Under Title 49, as well as Title 18, of the U.S. Code, the FBI has primary jurisdiction for investigations into criminal acts or other violations of the federal code that occur on all aircraft arriving to the United States (foreign and domestic carriers), as well as U.S. carriers flying outbound from the United States.

This case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Customs Border Protection and the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, and will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.
Although it was unclear what had provoked the alleged assault, several news articles about the incident reported that Mr. Cameron was intoxicated during the altercation and had to be "wrestled down" by a several crew members and passengers, after which he was duct-taped to his seat. He was arrested upon arrival at LAX.

[Image Source]

Monday, May 19, 2008

Woman who assaulted Horizon Air flight attendant is sentenced

Horizon Air logoA woman who assaulted a Horizon Air flight attendant during a flight last August has been sentenced by the U.S. District Court in Seattle. The assailant, identified as Krista Bauer, 23, of Hanford, CA, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to interfering with a flight crew member. An additional assault charge was then dropped.

Bauer was sentenced to 96 days in custody, three years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. In addition, Bauer was ordered to undergo mental-health and substance-abuse treatment and write letters of apology to Horizon Air and the flight attendant she assaulted, according to a Seattle Times news article about the sentencing.

The incident happened on Aug. 25, 2007, on a Horizon Air flight between Seattle and Billings, MT. According to news reports, Bauer was traveling to Billings to attend her sister's funeral.

Bauer flew from California to Portland, and then to Seattle to catch a connecting flight to Billings, where she was to make funeral arrangements and find care for the dead woman's children. Bauer admitted she drank several glasses of wine on an empty stomach. She said she remembered nothing else until she woke up in the psychiatric ward at Harborview Medical Center the following day.

According to court records, Bauer left her seat on the plane, which was carrying 36 passengers, and walked up the aisle toward the flight deck. A flight attendant told her to return to her seat, which is when Bauer said, "If anyone is going to die tonight, it'll be you," and grabbed the attendant in a headlock. Other passengers had to restrain her, and the flight returned to Sea-Tac.
In addition to her legal sentence, Bauer has been banned from flying on Horizon and its parent airline. An attorney for Horizon told Bauer in court: "You are not welcome on any Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines flight. Should you purchase a ticket, you will be barred from boarding the flight."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Former NFL lineman fined for pushing flight attendant

Former professional football player Tyoka Jackson (in photo at right), who had been a defensive lineman for several NFL teams, was ordered by a federal jury to pay a flight attendant $3,000 for an incident that happened on board a Northwest Airlines flight between Memphis and St. Louis in 2005.

According to a news story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the flight attendant testified in court that Mr. Jackson pushed him, sending him "toppling onto a passenger and the armrest in seats across the aisle." Jackson was said to be upset because the flight attendant asked him to stow a laptop bag under the first-class seats.

Jackson's attorney, Tom Magee, said in his opening statement that Jackson "used only such force he thought was necessary to stop this man from touching him against his wishes. He was not trying to hurt him."

[The flight attendant] testified that Jackson did "not simply push me, he threw me across the airplane."

"His hands came up so fast and hit me in the chest, and back I went."
The flight attendant also testified that he suffered back pain, a deep leg bruise and anxiety. He said he finds it hard to work because he now fears confrontations with unruly passengers.

In their suit against Mr. Jackson, the flight attendant and his wife had asked for more than a million dollars, but last week jurors ordered Mr. Jackson to pay $3,000 to cover medical expenses incurred by the flight attendant, according to the Associated Press.

Tyoka Jackson played professional football in the NFL from 1994 through 2006, most recently for the Detroit Lions. Earlier he had played for the Miami Dolphins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the St. Louis Rams.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Disruptive Delta passenger offloaded, jailed in Bangor

Delta Airlines Flight DL176, a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, diverted to Bangor, ME on the evening of February 29, 2008 due to a disruptive passenger. The flight had been en route from Atlanta to Dublin, Ireland when a male passenger became unruly, assaulted another passenger, and made threatening statements. He was taken into custody at Bangor International Airport and remanded to the Penobscot County Jail. The flight later resumed its journey to Dublin.

The passenger was identified in news reports as 44 year old Aiden Mackle, of Portadown, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland. He appeared in U.S. District Court yesterday, charged with interference with a flight crew and assault. An article on the Bangor Daily News website reported the following details about the incident:

The man, who had been visiting family in San Diego, became unruly Friday night about 2½ hours after the plane left Atlanta about 9:10 p.m., according to court documents. Mackle allegedly drank three or four of the small bottles of wine sold onboard. He then allegedly went to the restroom and illegally smoked a cigarette.

When a flight attendant confronted him about the smoking and told the captain she was dealing with an unruly passenger, Mackle allegedly said he was associated with Osama bin Laden and was going to hijack the plane.

Mackle also punched an off-duty Delta employee and told airline employees that he was a terrorist, according to court documents.
A USA Today article about the incident added that, according to an affidavit presented in court, Mackle "...responded to an off-duty AirTran Airways pilot who told him that the flight may have to make an emergency landing, 'OK, I'm a terrorist. Go ahead and land the plane,' and then proceeded to punch an off-duty Delta flight attendant who warned him that he may have to be restrained."

A detention hearing is scheduled for March 5, 2008 to determine whether Mackle will be released on bail.

UPDATE March 10, 2008: The Boston Globe reported today that a federal judge has denied bail to Mr. Mackle. The news article said, "After a 40-minute hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk found probable cause for the charges and sided with Amie Blanchette of the U.S. Probation Office who testified that Mackle should be detained to insure that he will show up for trial." He will continue to be detained, pending trial on charges of assault and interfering with a flight crew.

UPDATE June 25, 2008: The Bangor Daily News reports that A Federal Court judge has sentenced Mr. Mackle to time already served in jail (116 days), two years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $20,030 restitution to Delta Air Lines. In addition, he is being deported, and is forbidden to re-enter the U.S. without specific permission from immigration officials.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Disruptive passenger day at PDX?

Portland International Airport (PDX)Yesterday, November 15, must have been disruptive passenger day at Portland International Airport (PDX). Police at PDX had to meet two separate flights due to disruptive passenger incidents.

US Airways Flight 1473 had been en route to Las Vegas from Seattle when a couple of passengers reportedly attempted to join the 'mile high club' in a lavatory. The A320 aircraft diverted to Portland after the passengers argued with crew over the incident.

From a KPTV news report:

"The people across the aisle from us were fooling around in their seats and they decided to go to the bathroom and fool around and they threatened the flight attendant," said passenger Jessica Smith.

US Airways avoided confirming that the couple was fooling around, but did say they were arguing with the crew.

A PDX spokesperson said the passengers were neither cited nor arrested, but they were left in Portland, Ore.

The plane continued on to Vegas, where it was scheduled for a 7:39 p.m. landing.
The second incident took place on United Airlines Flight 371 while it was en route from Chicago to Portland. News reports say that a passenger named James Terry was arrested by FBI agents and Port of Portland officers when the flight arrived at PDX.

A news story on KPTV says:
Agents said Terry was en route from Chicago to Portland on United Airlines flight 371 when flight attendants, believing he was intoxicated, denied him alcohol about an hour and a half into the flight.

The flight attendants told officials that Terry became agitated and they moved him to the rear of the plane, where he tried to open the rear door and touch a female flight attendant.

Agents said the flight crew used handcuffs to restrain Terry for the duration of the flight.
Following his arrest at the airport, Mr. Terry was taken to Multnomah County Detention Center.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flight attendant provisions in the FAA Reauthorization Act

Seal of the US CongressLast week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R.2881, by a vote of 267-151. The legislation includes a number of provisions of interest to flight attendants in the United States.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) issued a news release about the legislation that summarizes the main points that affect flight attendants.

There are several important provisions included in the FAA Reauthorization that AFA-CWA has repeatedly requested for years.

For the first time in over 30 years, a requirement for workplace safety and health protections for flight attendants was finally recognized. Flight attendants suffer numerous occupational injuries and illnesses while working aboard commercial flights at rates several times higher than those for all private industry workers, yet are not covered under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

The FAA Reauthorization also states that the FAA must institute a HIMS, or "Return to the Cabin" Program, that will allow flight attendants an opportunity for rehabilitation after testing positive for drug or alcohol abuse.

The House also instructed the FAA to complete studies on flight attendant fatigue and continue sampling and analyzing onboard cabin air.

The FAA must also initiate a study of actual onboard temperatures to determine if regulations are necessary to mandate standard temperatures onboard aircraft.

Protection for seniority integration in case of an airline merger was also included. This provision will help to ensure that, in the event of an airline merger, all employees are treated fairly and one group is not stapled to the bottom of the merged seniority list.

Additionally, the bill mandates that airlines must notify passengers upon ticket purchase if their aircraft is subject to pesticide spraying.
Also of interest, an amendment to the bill (H.AMDT.808) asks the Secretary of Transportation "to issue regulations requiring air carriers to provide initial and annual recurring training for flight attendants and gate attendants regarding serving alcohol, dealing with disruptive passengers, and recognizing intoxicated persons. The training must include situational training on methods of handling an intoxicated person who is belligerent."

The U.S. Senate will consider this legislation some time next month. If the legislation passes the Senate as well, it will be presented to President Bush for his signature.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

UAL forms passenger incident review committee

United Airline logoUnited Airlines is creating an internal committee to review incidents in which passengers are physically abusive toward employees. According to an article in the Denver Post, United's new "passenger incident review committee" formalizes the process of investigating incidents in which passengers are physically abusive or threaten physical harm of United employees and are an "ongoing safety risk."

The process involves determining how the company responds to the passenger - such as limiting future travel on United - and legal and emotional support for the affected employee. It also includes a system of tracking the incidents.

The Association of Flight Attendants pressed United to start the program. Flight attendants are the most likely to receive abuse from passengers, as they spend the most time with each customer and do not have access to authorities in flight.

"We have seen an increase in these incidents throughout the industry," said Sara Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants at United. "The biggest frustration is delays and cancellations, and that has the added problem of people sitting at airports and going to a bar and drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a leading cause of air-rage incidents."

More passengers with fewer airline employees tending to passengers, the frustrations of traveling, fewer amenities and packed planes also increase "the opportunity for passengers to show their unreasonable side," Nelson said.
AFA also would like flight attendants to be provided with additional training on how to de-escalate conflicts. Sounds like a very good idea to me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Passenger tries to open door during Frontier Airlines flight

Several days ago, a passenger attempted to open a door on a Frontier Airlines Airbus during flight, and had to be restrained by flight attendants, with assistance from other passengers. The incident happened on Frontier Flight 514, en route from Denver to New York-La Guardia (LGA), early on the morning of August 25, 2007.

The man was unsuccessful in his attempt, and the plane landed safely with no reported injuries to the five crew members or 127 other passengers. On arrival at LGA, the disruptive passenger was taken into custody by Port Authority police.

According to news reports, the incident happened less than an hour before the aircraft was scheduled to land at LGA. A passenger who had been sitting near the unruly man said that the man had been acting strangely throughout the flight, bouncing up and down in his seat and kicking the seat in front of him. He struggled to escape after he was restrained with duct tape and a seatbelt extension.

[Passenger Bobby] Vigil said his rowmate left his seat to go to the bathroom in the front of the plane and briefly tried to open the cockpit door. The man, whom he described as Asian and about 20, then returned to his seat, only to get up 15 seconds later, go to the back of the plane and attempt to open the cabin door.

"I heard the flight attendant say, 'Help me!'" Vigil said. A struggle broke out, and Vigil and two other male passengers rushed over to help the attendant restrain the passenger.

"We taped him up in an 'X' pattern," said Vigil. "He wouldn't stay still or cooperate."

The man, whose name was not released, attempted to bite the tape off his hands and feet. Extension belts were used to keep him in place as the plane prepared to land, Vigil said.
A story about the incident in the New York Post described the man as 35 years old, and mentioned that he had been taken to Elmhurst General Hospital in Queens for evaluation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Abusive Frontier passenger is indicted

Frontier Airlines plane at DENA woman accused of repeatedly hitting her children during a Frontier Airlines flight between San Francisco and Denver last week has been indicted by a federal court. Tamera Jo Freeman, 38, was indicted on two counts of assault on a child under 16 and one count of interfering with a flight attendant.

Freeman was traveling with her two year old son and four year old daughter on Frontier Airlines Flight 108 on July 16, 2007. ABC 7 News in Denver reports what happened during the flight:

According to her arrest affidavit, witnesses said Freeman was slapping and punching the children on their legs, shoulders and knees and that the children were crying and cowering on the floor.

She was using profane language, appeared intoxicated and had been drinking heavily on the flight, witnesses said.

When passengers alerted the flight attendant, the attendant intervened and Freeman told her to "mind her own business and provide her another alcoholic beverage," according to the affidavit.

When she was denied more alcohol, Freeman allegedly threw a drink on the floor and confronted the flight attendant in a common area.

The affidavit said Freeman became verbally abusive toward the flight attendant and the flight attendant had to took a defensive stance.

Freeman went back to her seat but the attendant requested that a corrections officer who was a passenger on the plane sit next to Freeman.

The attendant then grabbed duct tape and had to stand next to Freeman for the remainder of the flight to prevent her from causing further problems, according to the affidavit.
According to witness reports, Freeman's abusive behavior toward her children was evident even before they boarded the flight. They said that Freeman appeared to be intoxicated and violent towards her children while still in the gate area at the departure station.

Freeman reportedly told investigators that she had slapped her children because they were fighting over a window shade and because they had spilled her drink. She denied throwing a drink, saying she had set it down on the floor on the aisle, but she did admit that she "lost it" during the incident.

According to press reports, Freeman's children have been placed in the custody of family members in California. The judge has ordered that Freeman herself remain in custody at a jail in Jefferson County, Colorado. She faces a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the interference charge, and up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each count of assault.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Passenger indicted for assault on AirTran flight attendant

A woman passenger allegedly assaulted several passengers and a flight attendant yesterday on AirTran Flight 904 while it was en route from Atlanta to Newport News with 116 passengers and a crew of five. TV station WAVY identifies the alleged assailant as Florida resident Valjean Marguriet, and reports that she was indicted earlier today by a federal grand jury on one count of interference with a flight attendant, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor assault.

According to court documents, during the flight, Marguriet assaulted a fellow passenger by grabbing and shaking her arm. Marguriet also struck a flight attendant in his face and interfered with his duties.
WAVY quoted Marsha Johnson, a passenger who had been sitting next to Ms. Marguriet on the plane.
She says the woman was perfectly fine and friendly, at first, but a few gin an tonics and the woman began to change. "I could see the alcohol getting to her. As we talked, the mood changed," Johnson recalls it changed for the worse.

"She just all of a sudden went off the handle," and Johnson it got worse when the lady started yelling, "well she called me a man. You're a man, You're a man!" Johnson says the woman shouted, just before she hit her several times. "She grabbed my arm," commented Johnson.

Flight attendants rushed to help Johnson and others who were hit by the woman. "They tried to talk to the lady, she would not be subdued, so the attendants restrained her," said passenger Donna Hypse. She says the woman's behavior made everyone very uncomfortable and even frightened some passengers, but the flight attendants had the situation under control. "they were outstanding. They controlled the situation. we never felt in danger," said Hypse.
The unruly passenger was arrested when the flight arrived at Newport News.

If convicted, Marguriet could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony interference charge, as well as 6 months in prison and fines of $5,000 for each assault charge.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Delta flight diverts to SFO due to agitated pax

A Hawaii-bound Delta Airlines B-767 aircraft was diverted to San Francisco yesterday after a female passenger caused an in-flight commotion. The woman, who had been caught smoking in a lavatory, reportedly suffered an anxiety attack.

The passenger was removed from the plane at SFO, and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. FBI agents in San Francisco interviewed the crew and passengers who had witnessed the incident on board Delta Flight 511. The flight, which had originated in Cincinnati, then resumed its journey to Honolulu, landing there about three hours after its scheduled arrival time.

News reports offer varying accounts of exactly what transpired. An Associated Press article published on several news websites, including in San Francisco, quoted a passenger on the flight who said she witnessed "a heated confrontation between an irate passenger and the pilot," and that the agitated woman "hit the pilot in the chest after he left the cockpit to check on her." However, a Delta spokeswoman said "the pilot, who had been resting in the cabin before the incident, was not struck."

A reporter from Honolulu television station KGMB 9 interviewed the pilot who had intervened in the incident, and offered this version of events:

The trouble started about halfway through the nine-hour flight. A woman who was seated in the back of the Delta plane was caught smoking in the restroom. Passengers say she seemed agitated and was yelling.

The flight crew moved her to a seat closer to the front of of the plane and tried to calm her down. She appeared to be hyper-ventilating, so they gave her some oxygen and finally decided to divert the plane to San Francisco.

The woman was taken away by ambulance. The FBI interviewed the crew and nearby passengers. The flight then resumed with passengers arriving late this afternoon.

KGMB9 spoke to the pilot who confronted the disruptive woman. "It's an ongoing investigation and so because of that I can't really comment, but the reports of her hitting me are not true," said pilot Eric Peterson.

"Did you threaten to handcuff her?" KGMB9 asked.

"I did, if she didn't calm down," he replied.
An article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin quoted Maj. Gerard Antoine, an Army physician at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, who also was a passenger on the flight. He told the newspaper reporter that he came forward when the pilot asked if a doctor was on board to assist with a medical emergency.
He said the woman, about 24 years old, appeared to be having an anxiety attack.

"She complained of shortness of breath and chest pains," he said, but said she was "not belligerent and very cooperative."

Antoine calmed the woman and gave her oxygen. He said it was unlikely she was overdosing on drugs and did not learn what happened before or after his treatment of her.
Maj. Antoine denied to the reporter that he had seen the agitated woman strike the pilot, as some other passengers had suggested.

Other passengers interviewed for the Star-Bulletin article mentioned seeing the woman "taking a bunch of pills" while waiting in line for the lavatory. One said that flight attendants caught the woman smoking in the restroom and "told her how dangerous it was, and she went back and did it again," adding that the woman disarmed the lavatory smoke alarm.

KGMB 9 reported that the woman was not arrested by the FBI, and that "they're looking into whether she had a medical condition."

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Continental drops off belligerent pax in Labrador

A Continental Airlines flight en route from Oslo, Norway to Newark diverted to Goose Bay, Labrador this past Monday after an inebriated passenger became belligerent. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) met the aircraft when it landed at Happy Valley-Goose Bay Airport and physically removed the man from the plane. The flight then continued on to its destination.

The passenger, identified by news media as 47 year old Paul Burns, from Florida, was taken to jail after being removed from the plane. A report about the incident on CBC News said that the RCMP officers had "some difficulty taking the man off the flight." A witness said that the man was swearing as he was taken from the plane and was trying to break away from officers.

Another CBC News article offered these details:

A provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay was told that Burns had not consumed alcohol for years, but began drinking vodka before he boarded the flight in Oslo. He continue to drink vodka on the plane, court heard.

After he was cut off, court was told, Burns assaulted the passenger next to him as well as another person who was waiting for the bathroom.

Six passengers assisted flight attendants as they finally handcuffed Burns to his seat.

Court was told that Burns continued to be belligerent once the plane landed in Labrador, and tried to knock over RCMP officers as they dragged him from the plane.

Burns was told that Continental Airlines may sue him for restitution. The airline estimated the forced landing cost more than $13,000.
Mr. Burns appeared in court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to endangering the safety and security of an aircraft in flight, in a breach of the Aeronautics Act. CBC News says that he was released after he arranged to pay a $12,000 fine imposed by the court.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

United flight diverts to SLC to unload rowdy passenger

This past Friday, a United Airlines flight en route from Chicago to Portland diverted to Salt Lake City because of a "rowdy passenger." The passenger, a Florida man identified as Kenneth R. Bullard, had been arguing with another passenger who turned out to be his son. Bullard was arrested on arrival at SLC and charged with assault and interference with a flight crew.

An Associated Press story about the incident says:

Bullard, who had been drinking alcohol before and during the flight, became "belligerent ... and engaged in a physical altercation causing the attendants to physically restrain him," FBI agent Martin Schwarz said in an affidavit to support the charges.

The son was moved but Bullard attacked him again about 15 minutes later, Schwarz said. Finally, three other passengers helped flight attendants put Bullard back in his seat, the agent said. The pilot stopped the plane in Salt Lake City where officers removed Bullard and arrested him.

Bullard told officers that he got into an argument about his son's girlfriend. He was released Monday after a brief appearance in federal court.
The incident happened aboard United Flight 439, on March 16.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two US Airways F/As assaulted on flight

A man who slapped two flight attendants aboard a US Airways flight has been charged with disorderly conduct and two counts of second degree assault. FBI charges against him are also being considered.

The man was identified by the Arizona Republic as Bryan Leon Spann, 34, from Phoenix. A news report said that Spann became disorderly on US Airways Flight 81 from Phoenix to Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport. He reportedly slapped a male and a female flight attendant before crew members restrained him with flexible handcuffs.

Once the aircraft reached BWI, Spann was carried off the plane by police. He was held at Anne Arundel County Detention Center in Maryland on $15,000 bail.

It was reported that the flight attendants declined emergency medical treatment.

Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the incident.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Man fined for bad behavior on diverted Delta flight

Stories about disruptive passengers just keep coming.

A man identified as Bert Niepel, a 51 year old German banker, had to be restrained after he lost his temper and threatened members of the crew of a Delta Airlines flight en route from Berlin to New York. The aircraft diverted to Manchester, England, where the unruly passenger was arrested on arrival.

Here is a brief version of what happened aboard the Delta B767 aircraft, according to a report published in the Manchester Evening News:

Niepel had upgraded himself to a seat in the first class section of the flight from Berlin to New York and refused repeated requests for him to return to his seat in economy class.

He eventually pushed an air stewardess backwards to the floor as she served drinks and had to be restrained in his seat by other passengers, including a German Army soldier.

The Delta Airlines pilot was so concerned about the disturbance in the cabin he locked the cockpit door and diverted the plane to Manchester Airport.
Mr. Niepel has since appeared before the Trafford Magistrates Court. He pleaded guilty to "behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards the crew." He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £70 costs.

To read the whole Manchester Evening News account of what transpired, with further details of the incident reported from the court hearing, click here.

[Photo Source]

Monday, March 5, 2007

Unruly BA pax gets a surprise visit to Winnipeg

Canadian newspapers and news websites are reporting that a British Airways B747-400 en route from Heathrow to Phoenix made an unscheduled landing in Winnipeg to deplane an unruly passenger. The man, identified as 38 year old David Gerard McAuliffe, wound up in jail at the Winnipeg Remand Center, where he was to remain until a court appearance.

McAuliffe has been charged with mischief, causing a disturbance and failing to comply with instructions of a flight crew following the pilot's decision to bump him from the plane and into police custody after becoming difficult when he was refused alcohol.

"The pilot wanted Winnipeg police to meet them because they had an unruly passenger," said Christine Alongi, spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Airports Authority.

Alongi had no details on the imbibing Irishman's on-board antics, but added that "the circumstances were such that the pilot thought he needed to come down and get this fellow off." [Ottawa Sun]
Other media reports mentioned that the man became disruptive after flight attendants refused to serve him alcohol.

The aircraft stayed on the ground in Winnipeg for about two hours before resuming its flight to Phoenix -- with one less passenger.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Delta trans-con diverted to SLC - pax arrested

A first class passenger caused a disruption aboard a Delta Airlines nonstop San Francisco to New York flight several days ago. The flight was diverted to Salt Lake City where law enforcement officials arrested the man. He was charged with interference with a flight crew.

Here's the story, according to the Salt Lake Tribune:

Thomas J. McSherry, 42, of Hampton Bay, N.Y., appeared to be "under some kind of influence" when he boarded Flight 1671 on Monday and was seated in seat 3A, according to an FBI affidavit. It says McSherry was upset about his first-class accommodations and refused to buckle his seatbelt or follow other safety rules.

In addition, McSherry allegedly made offensive remarks about the Russian nationality of a flight attendant and threatened to "kick his ass."


Police and FBI agents who questioned McSherry noted that he was agitated and smelled of alcohol, the affidavit says. McSherry denied using foul language or making threats, but acknowledged he had complained about the level of service.

While being transported to jail, McSherry used profane language and accused the flight attendant of having a "hissy fit," the affidavit alleges.
Another Utah newspaper, the Deseret News, added that "U.S. Magistrate Judge David Nuffer ordered McSherry released but ordered no air travel without permission and ordered the man to surrender his passport."

Friday, February 2, 2007

Unruly passenger arrested on arrival at ORF

A man from Jacksonville, FL was arrested on Wednesday after he was accused of fighting aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

Here's what happened, according to a story posted on the First Coast News website:

The FBI and Air Marshals arrested 52-year-old Roy Youngblood Wednesday, one day after he flew to Norfolk on Southwest Airlines.

Youngblood is accused of assaulting a female passenger and being physically and verbally combative with flight attendants.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said Youngblood became unruly in the cabin of the Boeing 737 jet.

He was not making any terror-related threats the airline said.

A flight attendant notified the captain.

Southwest Airlines said the captain radioed ahead, and when the plane landed at Norfolk's airport, law enforcement officers were waiting.
No further details were reported on the exact nature of the man's assault on the other passenger or the flight attendants.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Men arrested for 'brawl' on easyJet flight from Alicante

Eight men were arrested in the U.K. after what has been described as a 'drunken brawl' aboard an easyJet flight en route from Alicante to Newcastle.

According to an article from the Northern Echo, republished on the Airport Business website:

Northumbria Police said they were called to meet the EasyJet flight from Alicante, Spain, when it landed at Newcastle International Airport late on Sunday night.
A police spokesman said the arrests followed reports of a "fracas" among a group of men on the Boeing 737.

More than 100 passengers became alarmed by the disturbance, which broke out midway through the flight.

It is alleged the men, all believed to be from the Wearside area, had been drinking heavily and were abusive before the flight left Alicante Airport at 9.20pm.

EasyJet said none of the 139 passengers and five crew onboard the flight was injured during the disturbance.

Inspector Jan Harrison said yesterday: "A group of eight men were involved in a brawl on board. They had been drinking and became more rowdy. I'm sure other passengers would have been alarmed by their behaviour.

"Cabin crew alerted us and we boarded the plane when it landed.

"The majority of the passengers were allowed off first and those suspected of taking part in the fight were kept on until they were arrested.
A statement issued by easyJet about the incident says that the airline "has a zero tolerance policy towards any unreasonable behaviour and, as a result, eight passengers were removed from the flight by police for disruptive behaviour on landing at Newcastle."

Fine, but what I want to know is this: If the passengers were indeed "drinking heavily and were abusive before the flight," why were they allowed aboard the aircraft in Alicante?