Unruly passenger's $124K mistake

A MAN whose unruly behaviour forced the pilot of a Hawaiian Airlines flight to New York to return to Honolulu has been fined $124,000 by the airline, according to a new report.

James August, of New Jersey, pleaded guilty to interfering with flight crew members and attendants in February and was ordered to pay the hefty sum by a federal judge on Monday, according to the Honolulu Star Adviser and the New York Post.

Officials said the man, who had been holidaying in Hawaii with his girlfriend and her children, acted out before the November 2016 flight even left the ground.

August, who was drinking before the flight, tried to order more alcohol on the plane and drank some he personally brought aboard.

During the meal service, his girlfriend's son told a flight attendant he had insulted the children and threatened their lives.

When the attendant asked him to go to another part of the plane, he whacked her on the shoulder with the back of his hand and other passengers had to help restrain him.

Authorities said August then yelled, swore and threatened to punch his girlfriend in the face.

US District Senior Judge Oki Molloway ordered August to repay the airline the costs it incurred for turning the plane around, including fuel, maintenance, ground crew and costs associated with finding the passengers other flights.

The sum does not include the $59,200 of meal vouchers Hawaiian Airlines handed out to delayed New York-bound passengers.

In the US interfering with flight crew members and attendants is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $316,000. The judge sentenced August to three years of probation in June.

A Florida man who caused a Delta Airlines flight to turn around in July when he tried to open the exit door was indicted on five counts, including interfering with a flight crew and assault.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.

News Corp Australia

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