Unruly United passenger must pay $20K for diverting flight

US News

An unruly and “physically aggressive” passenger aboard a United Airlines flight was ordered to pay more than $20,000 to the company after his behavior forced the pilot to divert the Newark-bound plane to the Maine.

Englishman Alexander Michael Dominic MacDonald must pay more than $20,638 in compensation to United for the March 1 incident in which he threatened to “spoil the plane,” a federal judge ruled last Thursday.

The 30-year-old, who has been in custody since his mid-air explosion, was also sentenced to prison and will be returned to the UK by US immigration officials, according to the sentence lodged with the U.S. District Court in Maine. .

The Briton was ordered to pay $20,638 in compensation to United Airlines for the March 1 flight hijacking. credit: Twitter X/KolHaolam

MacDonald, who pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with members of the flight crew, was arguing loudly with his girlfriend on United Flight 883 from London’s Heathrow Airport and l The chief flight attendant asked him to calm down, according to an FBI affidavit.

He initially complied, but a few minutes later he did it again — this time yelling at another flight attendant, the document says.

The head flight attendant stood between the “verbally and physically aggressive” passenger and the other flight attendant who walked away.

The crew member tried to calm the crazed Englishman – but his situation only got worse.

MacDonald asked the attendant if he would like to “have a problem” and threatened to “mess up the plane” by putting his hands on the attendant’s shoulders and pushing him into a corner, according to the affidavit.

MacDonald was described as “verbally and physically aggressive” and threatened the flight crew. @KolHaolam /

Crew members and a passenger were then able to put MacDonald in flex handcuffs, but were unable to restrain him in a seat while he continued his tirade.

The purser and pilot decided that the plane needed to land as soon as possible in order to remove him from the plane for the safety of the crew and the flight.

The plane, with 160 passengers and 10 crew members on board, then landed in Bangor, Maine – where the hothead and his girlfriend were taken and met by law enforcement at the airport – before taking off again to head towards its original destination in New Jersey.

The United pilot and chief flight attendant determined that the plane needed to land to evacuate MacDonald before reaching its destination for the safety of the crew and the flight. NurPhoto via Getty Images

Videos posted on social media showed MacDonald being escorted off the plane and down the steps with his ankles and hands tied to a police car waiting on the tarmac to applause from other passengers.

Reports of unruly passengers reached a staggering high in 2021 after pandemic travel restrictions were lifted, with nearly 6,000 reported, according to FAA statistics.

The numbers have fallen significantly since then, but remain above pre-pandemic levels. There were 2,075 journalists last year and 649 so far in 2024.

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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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