A man who disrupted a United Airlines flight has been spared jail time, but faces a hefty fine for verbally and physically assaulting a flight attendant on a flight to Tokyo.
Man Faces Hefty Fine For Assaulting Flight Attendant On United Airlines Flight To Tokyo
The incident took place on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo in February 2020. Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants observed Seksan Kumtong, a Los Angeles resident, banging on the door of a lavatory. A flight attendant directed him to another lavatory and he responded by lunging at the flight attendant (but missed).
He took his seat again and fell asleep. When he woke up, he demanded more cocktails. When refused, he began swearing then lunged at a flight attendant, struck the flight attendant, then attempted to tackle the flight attendant. He also added, “I will kill you.”
The flight diverted to Alaska, where United accrued $49,793 in fees including food plus lodging for the other passengers onboard. It isn’t clear if that amount takes into account fuel, landing fees, and additional labor expenses.
Kumtong pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight crew during his arraignment in November. Although he faced prison time, his attorney argued that he should not be placed in prison because he is at high-risk for COVID -19 (he suffers from diabetes).
His attorney called this an “explanation” not an “excuse” and an Alaskan judge bought the story. While he has been spared jail time, he will face probation and be forced to pay United back the nearly $50,000.
Seems to me that Kumtong gets off way too easily, but $50,000 is still more than a slap on the wrist. While not mentioned, I hope he is also permanently banned from United.
Was the punishment too little, too much, or just right?
(H/T: View From The Wing)