A woman who shouted obscenities at a flight attendant and threatened to kill him caused an unplanned plane landing and was charged Monday in federal court with interference with flight crew.
The Alaska Airlines flight, which was scheduled for last Friday from San Francisco to Chicago, landed at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Missouri, because the pilot was worried about the safety of the passengers, The Justice Department said in a statement on Monday.
The woman, Chloe M. DaSilva, 32, asked if she could change seats, but the flight attendants told her the plane was full, according to an affidavit filed in the case. A few minutes into the flight, after she had been in the bathroom at the back of the plane for an extended period of time, she began banging on the bathroom door from the inside, according to the court notice. At another point in the trip, she also bangs on the overhead bins.
The affidavit said Ms. DaSilva was zip-tied by a flight attendant and two passengers at the captain’s request. did not resist.
The airline said six crew members and 177 passengers were on board. Out of caution, a mother and her child seated in front of Mrs. DaSilva switched seats with another passenger. A passenger said in the affidavit that Ms. DaSilva did not physically touch any crew members.
“After landing, the guest was removed from the aircraft by local law enforcement officers,” the airline said. Then it continued to Chicago without further incident.
The flight attendants began watching Ms. DaSilva after she interrupted the initial announcements and safety briefing to ask her when the plane would take off, according to the affidavit.
Once on the plane, she climbed to the back of the plane and told the flight attendant that she could not stay in her seat. I entered the bathroom and banged the walls. When the flight attendant opened the door for a health check, Ms. DaSilva was seen asleep and left there, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Ms. DaSilva punched the overhead bins while returning to her seat. The lawsuit said she then threatened to kill a flight attendant.
The attorney general’s office said Ms. DaSilva, who was arrested for interfering with a flight attendant and was on trial in the Western District of Missouri, faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years and no mandatory minimum sentence. The attorneys general listed in court documents as representing Ms. DaSilva could not be reached for comment.
This episode is among several incidents involving unruly passengers on flights that have raised questions about the safety of crew members in recent years. The Transportation Security Administration has resumed self-defense classes for flight attendants and pilots in 2021.
A November 2022 Frontier Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Tampa was diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after a passenger was seen with a box. In September 2022, a woman was sentenced to four months in federal prison after she spat on a passenger and shoved a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight.
In 2021, an off-duty flight attendant takes control of the speaker system and makes an announcement about oxygen masks, which leads to a violent confrontation in which she is subdued.
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