By Christina Carrega
A Tennessee woman turned herself into the FBI on Tuesday after she was accused of assaulting two flight attendants during a Spirit Airlines flight last month, the Justice Department announced.
Amanda Renee Henry was charged in a criminal complaint with interfering with a flight crew, after an incident on a November 27 flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Nashville.
During the flight, Henry allegedly consumed so many alcoholic drinks that one of the crewmembers decided to cut her off, according to the criminal complaint. She allegedly became disruptive, appeared to be intoxicated and was witnessed by other passengers vaping during the flight. Henry, 43, also allegedly made other male passengers uncomfortable when she placed her hands on one of them and made lewd sexual advances, according to the complaint.
When flight attendants asked Henry to switch her seat, which was located next to an emergency exit and for the safety of the other passengers, she allegedly screamed, “I’m getting off this plane.”
Prosecutors said Henry headed toward the main cabin door, and one of the flight attendants blocked her path and attempted to restrain her. A second flight attendant assisted with restraining Henry, who kicked and pulled the hair of one of the crewmembers until they were able to handcuff and place her into a seat, according to the complaint.
It took an off-duty firefighter, who happened to be a passenger on the flight, to sit with Henry and keep her calm until the plane landed at Nashville International Airport where she was briefly detained by local police on a public intoxication charge, according to a news release.
After further investigation by the FBI, Henry was charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants.
Henry is expected to have her initial appearance on Tuesday in the Middle District of Tennessee. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Henry’s federal charges follows a Los Angeles woman’s arrest for allegedly hitting and spitting on a fellow passenger on December 23. Unruly passenger reports on commercial flights have skyrocketed this year, mostly due to incidents in connection to mask mandates, according to the FAA. There have been more than 5,700 reports of unruly passengers this year, according to FAA statistics.
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