A pair of women who assaulted both passengers and crewmembers onboard an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Los Angeles in first class now face prison time for their poor choice of behavior.
Women Face Sentencing For Unruly Behavior In American Airlines First Class Cabin
First, a bit of background about the case:
- The incident occurred on February 24, 2021, onboard an American Airlines flight from Dallas (DFW) to Los Angeles (DFW)
- Kelly Pichardo, 30, and Leeza Rodriguez, 29 were seated in first class
- Each woman allegedly assaulted another passenger during the flight
- When another passenger told them to stop, they used racial slurs against him
- Pichardo then spit on the man
- He then pulled out his phone to record the incident and Rodriguez slapped it out of his hand.
- A flight attendant stepped in but was also assaulted
- Due their unruly behavior, the captain made the decision to divert to Phoenix (PHX)
- The women were arrested in PHX, then the flight continued to LAX
Both women have now pleaded guilty to interference with flight crew members. Pichardo was sentenced to four months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release. She has also been ordered to pay American Airlines $9,123.00 in restitution. Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced pursuant to her guilty plea in this case on November 7, 2022.
United States Attorney Gary Restaino noted:
“There is a line between boorish behavior on an airplane and criminal activity, and the defendant clearly crossed it. First class passengers are not immune from prosecution: defendant’s verbal and physical intimidation disrupted the travel of passengers and crew alike.”
It was a bad situation and Pichardo should be thankful she will only have to spend four months in prison and pay out less than $10,000.
I am glad to see that some of these lingering cases from the pandemic era are being pursued. Even as we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of onboard incidents, this is an important reminder that actions still have consequences.