The U.S. attorney’s office says a disruptive passenger who forced the diversion of an American Airlines flight will face federal charges.The office says that Jason Baroletti, 38, Holbrook, N.Y., was charged with one count of interfering with the performance of the duties of flight crew members. On Nov. 3, Baroletti was a passenger on American Airlines flight 622 carrying 131 people from Phoenix to New York.
Investigators alleged that 10 minutes after takeoff, Baroletti started smoking an e-cigarette. Flight attendants told him it was not allowed. He said he had anxiety and wanted a drink. When flight attendants declined to serve him alcohol, he became more upset. Baroletti took the following actions:
- Threatened to kill another passenger for advising against giving him alcohol. He said he would slap the beard off the man’s face.
- Stated he would take the plane down.
- Threatened to kill other passengers.
The pilot landed the plane in Wichita to remove Baroletti from the aircraft. He was arrested at Dwight D. Eisenhower airport in Wichita by Wichita Airport Police.
The flight left Wichita a few hours later and landed in New York shortly before midnight Tuesday.
If convicted, Baroletti faces a maximum penalty 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.