Unruly Passenger That Caused Diversion Now Owes Delta $9,118
At the end of May, a man caused Delta Flight 1156 from Portland (PDX) to Atlanta (ATL) to divert to Tulsa, Oklahoma (TUL) after behaving unruly while in flight. Now, that man has pleaded guilty to a federal assault charge regarding the incident — and it'll cost him.
According to the Associated Press, 29-year-old Bolutife Olorunda of Vancouver, Washington, owes Delta $9,118 for the cost of diverting the flight after pleading guilty to a federal assault charge. On top of that, Olorunda is facing up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
According to a passenger on the flight, Olorunda was "singing really loudly," and when a flight attendant attempted to tame him, Olorunda reportedly "threw off his headphones and said, ‘Touch me again and you’ll regret it.’”
The scenario ultimately led to a federal air marshal intervention, an apology from Delta to those affected by the diversion delay and an investigation by the FBI. Interfering with the duties of a flight attendant by assault or intimidation is a federal crime punishable by a fine and/or prison time.
Though the $9,118 fine owed to Delta may seem steep, it's probably not that bad considering what a flight diversion actually costs an airline. A Hawaiian Airlines passenger was charged $98,000 for causing a diversion after threatening his family, flight attendants and other passengers on board, with the costs stemming from "fuel cost, maintenance, ground crew, a new flight crew and re-accommodating passengers on other flights." That cost left out the airline's $47,000 expense toward meal vouchers for the affected passengers.
H/T: AP News