A Colorado man accused of disrupting an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Denver by refusing to wear a mask and then standing up and urinating in the cabin faces a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew and attendants that carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a possible US$250,000 ($386,000) fine.
The FBI arrested 24-year-old Landon Grier of Canon City after the flight landed March 9, according to an affidavit filed in US District Court in Denver.
The affidavit by FBI Special Agent Martin Daniell III, who interviewed Grier and crew members, says Grier appeared to be trying to sleep but swatted at an attendant when she asked him repeatedly to put on his mask, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
A passenger later summoned attendants because Grier was urinating in his seat area, Daniell wrote.
The agent said Grier told him he had several beers and "a couple of shots" before boarding the flight, fell asleep on the plane and "awoke to being yelled at by the flight attendants who told him he was peeing."
"He stated he had no recollection of hitting the flight attendant and didn't know if he was peeing," Daniell said.
Grier made an initial court appearance on Thursday. A federal public defender was appointed to represent him. He was released on $10,000 bond pending his next court appearance set for March 26.
Public defenders do not comment on pending cases, and a call to the US Attorney's Office in Denver for comment wasn't immediately returned late Friday.
In a statement, Alaska Airlines said: "We will not tolerate any disturbance onboard our aircraft or at any of the airports we serve."
Masks and booze problematic cocktail for JetBlue
Mask compliance was again the face of an issue brought by the FAA against a passenger, just last Friday.
An airline passenger could wind up paying $20,200 for refusing to wear a face mask and drinking alcohol that he had brought on board.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it proposed the civil penalty against a passenger on a Dec. 23 JetBlue Airways flight that left New York's John F. Kennedy Airport bound for the Dominican Republic, but turned back to JFK because of the man's behavior.
The FAA said the man crowded a passenger in the next seat, spoke loudly and ignored a flight attendant's request to wear his mask. He also refused to stop drinking alcohol that he brought on board, which is prohibited by federal regulation, the agency said.
Flight attendants complained twice to the pilots. The captain declared an emergency and returned to JFK, where police were waiting and escorted the man off the plane, according to the FAA.
The man was not identified.
- Associated Press