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Woman Ordered To Pay Airline $40k, Serve Prison Time For Diverting Flight

By CM Chaney · November 16, 2023

In brief…

  • Hawaii woman sentenced for incident that forced flight to divert
  • She threatened crew and passengers on Feb 2022 American Airlines flight
  • Flight from Phoenix to Honolulu had to turn around and land back in Phoenix
  • Woman pleaded guilty, got prison time and has to pay airline $38,952
A Hawaii woman who caused an American Airlines flight to divert by threatening passengers and crew has been sentenced to over 3 months in prison and ordered to pay the airline nearly $40,000.  Jakkrit Prasertwit / Wikimedia

A Hawaii woman has been sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay nearly $40,000 in restitution for causing an American Airlines flight to be diverted back to Phoenix after threatening passengers and crew.

The 29-year-old woman “used profanities and threatened flight attendants and passengers” on a Feb. 12, 2022 flight that was originally scheduled from Phoenix to Honolulu, according to federal court documents.

Her disruptive behavior ultimately forced the captain to turn the plane around and land back in Phoenix.

The diversion resulted in several other flights being rerouted as well, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release. American Airlines stated the incident caused a “disturbance” that rippled through their flight operations.

On Nov. 14, 2022, the woman pleaded guilty to one count of “interfering with a flight crew member.” She was sentenced to 3 months and 1 day in prison and ordered to pay $38,952 to American Airlines for the cost of diverting the flight.

Additionally, she faces 3 years of probation following her release, during which time she is “not permitted to fly without court approval,” the Justice Department release said.

“Interfering with a flight crew member is a violation of federal law,” warned U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino. “Being disruptive on an aircraft or failing to follow instructions from flight attendants while flying 30,000 feet above the ground is dangerous.”