A 50-year old woman from Texas has been charged by the San Francisco federal court with interference with an aircraft flight by assault upon a flight attendant. If convicted, this could land her up to 20 years in prison.
It’s the latest incident in a concerning trend of unruly passengers onboard aircraft. The rise in cases has prompted calls from airlines and unions for more to be done and harsher punishments to be meted out to serve as a deterrent
The first hearing in Houston federal court, which occurred on November 12, 2021, initiates the first steps in a procedure to obtain an order directing Debby Dutton of Cypress, Texas to appear to face the charge against her in San Francisco federal court.
According to the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, the incident occured on June 29, 2021, when Dutton and her husband were passengers on a United Airlines flight from Alaska to San Francisco.
As is customary on flights during the pandemic, flight attendants broadcasted several safety announcements over the plane’s intercom, including about the federal mask mandate on commercial flights.
The flight attendants also announced that passengers must wear their masks at all times, and should a passenger’s mask fall while they are asleep, they (passengers) will be woken up and be told to put their masks back on.