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Unruly passenger on Atlanta flight lands federal charge

As we detailed in our previous post, interfering with an aircraft crew is, in fact, a federal crime. Earlier this month, a Hogansville, Georgia, man pled guilty to one count of the federal offense after acting as an unruly passenger on an Oct. 10, 2012 flight.

The AirTran flight that was bound for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Atlanta, Georgia, was only 30 minutes into the trip when this man reportedly started acting out in an erratic manner. The man stormed the front of the plane upon hearing it was bound for Pennsylvania and told a flight attendant that he immediately needed to get off of the aircraft.

According to reports, multiple members of the flight crew tried to calm the man, who was beginning to force his way towards the front of the plane. The suspect began constantly shouting obscenities at two flight attendants who tried to physically stop him from pursuing the front of the plane. The man used his hands to knock the attendants backwards in his pursuit toward the cockpit.

At this point, five fellow passengers and two other flight attendants reportedly wrestled the man to the ground, while he kicked and bit at them in their attempt to restrain him. For the remainder of the flight, the crew was saddled with the burden of restraining this man instead of being able to perform their usual in-flight duties.

This man now faces a maximum penalty of a fine of $250,000, a maximum sentence of 20 years, or both. Being convicted of a federal offense, or even just charged with one, can be seriously damaging to many aspects of life. Contacting a skilled attorney in the event of charges as such may be something to look into.

Source: fbi.gov, "Georgia Man Admits Interfering with Flight Crew During Flight from Atlanta to Pittsburgh," Jan. 08, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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