According to charges filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, an unruly passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Nashville punched a flight attendant in the face, dragged another across the floor by her ponytail, and charged at the aircraft door while screaming “I’m getting off this plane.”
If found guilty of interfering with a crew member after the November 27, 2021 incident, Amanda Renee Henry, 43, of Lebanon, Tennessee, faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Two customers sought to transfer seats so they weren’t near Henry because he was making them uncomfortable with “lewd advances” and unpleasant “flirtatious” conduct. This brought Henry to the attention of flight attendants.
According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed on Tuesday, flight attendants moved the passengers, but Henry got “irate and confrontational.” T
he flight attendants opted to move her from the emergency exit row she was seated in for safety grounds since she appeared to be inebriated.
Henry initially hesitated to budge, but eventually grabbed her carry-on and dashed to the plane’s front, yelling, “I’m getting off this plane!”
One of the flight attendants was able to close the main cabin door and then restrain Henry. Henry allegedly assaulted one flight attendant in the face and dragged another by her hair, according to prosecutors.
Despite the vicious assault, the flight attendants were eventually able to place plastic flex cuffs on Henry’s ankles, but not her hands.
She was transferred to a different seat, where an off-duty firefighter offered to sit with Henry and keep her quiet.
On arriving at Nashville International Airport, Henry was arrested and charged with public intoxication. However, U.S. Attorney Mark Wildasin stated that prosecutors were pursuing the case and had filed ‘interference with crew member’ charges in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ directive to crack down on rowdy airline passengers.
“Those whose behavior disrupts or otherwise endangers the safety of persons on aircraft should expect to face federal charges,” commented Wildasin.