There have been lots of unruly passengers in the news lately, including two incidents that prompted emergency landings of transatlantic flights Saturday.
An American Airlines 757 flying from Paris to Boston was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, on Saturday after a French passenger attached a device consisting of some kind of putty and what looked like a GPS unit to the fuselage of the aircraft, Canadian Press reports. The passenger was arrested in Gander and the flight continued to Boston, where it arrived more than an hour and a half late.
Also on Saturday, an Air Canada 767 flying from Nova Scotia to London diverted to Boston because one passenger attacked another. There were also reports that two passengers “gave reason to believe that a bomb was on board,” the Aviation Herald reports.
The penalties for being an unruly passenger can be stiff. A passenger who got drunk, belligerent and abusive with the crew of a United Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles last year has been convicted of interfering with a flight crew and faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, though it’s likely to be less, the Los Angeles Times’ LA Now blog reported.
The penalty for being mistaken for an unruly passenger are less dire, but can be quite annoying. On Thursday a guy was having a cell phone conversation that alarmed other passengers as they were boarding a Direct Air flight at Myrtle Beach; a friend had called to tell him about an arson-murder at a house he used to live in. The plane was evacuated, the bomb squad was called and nobody got arrested because it was all a big misunderstanding, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports.