WASHINGTON (AP) — An airline passenger could wind up paying $14,500 for refusing to wear a face mask and drinking alcohol that he had brought on board.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it proposed the civil penalty against a passenger on a Dec. 23 JetBlue Airways flight that left New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport bound for the Dominican Republic, but turned back to JFK because of the man’s behavior.
The FAA said the man crowded a passenger in the next seat, spoke loudly and ignored a flight attendant’s request to wear his mask.
He also refused to stop drinking alcohol that he brought on board, which is prohibited by federal regulation, the agency said.
Flight attendants complained twice to the pilots.
The captain declared an emergency and returned to JFK, where police were waiting and escorted the man off the plane, according to the FAA.
The man was not identified.
Why a United Airlines flight diverted to Anchorage
FEBRUARY 18, 2021
ONE MILE AT A TIME – In February 2020, a 52 year old California man was flying United Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo.
According to reports, he started acting up shortly after takeoff, as a flight attendant observed him banging on the door of an airplane bathroom.
When the flight attendant directed him to another bathroom, he attempted to shove the crew member, but failed.
The man returned to his seat but fell asleep. When he woke up, he ordered more alcoholic drinks, but was denied due to his earlier behavior.
He then began swearing, and then struck the flight attendant in the face, before attempting to slam the flight attendant into the floor. At one point he even yelled “I will kill you.”
At this point the passenger was restrained, and the flight diverted to Anchorage, and was met by authorities.
Because of the diversion, all passengers had to spend a night in Anchorage, as the crew would have “timed out,” meaning they couldn’t continue to the journey.
How this United Airlines passenger was sentenced
Last November during an arraignment the man had pleaded guilty to interfering with the flight crew, and then appeared in court earlier this week for his sentencing:
- He was sentenced to five years of probation
- He was ordered to reimburse United Airlines for expenses incurred during the diversion, including the cost of meals and lodging for the passengers and crew, which totaled $49,793
- The man’s attorney claimed that his client suffered from diabetes, and that this combined with alcohol, may have caused his behavior
- The judge stated that the man only avoided a prison sentence out of concern for his diabetes, which puts him at higher risk of COVID-19 infection … READ MORE.