Unruly American Airlines passenger gets prison time, must pay restitution

A plane ride to Hawaii should be filled with Mai Tais and leis, not unruly passengers shouting obscenities and threatening the flight crew. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened on a flight last year from Phoenix to Honolulu. And now the person responsible will pay for their actions.

According to a press release from the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Cayla Farris, 29, was sentenced to 3.6 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation, in addition to paying $38,952 in restitution to the airline.”

During the 2022 flight, Farris threatened the flight crew and other passengers, causing such a stir that the flight crew couldn’t do their jobs. Ultimately, the pilots had no choice but to turn back to Phoenix, causing several flights to be re-rerouted.

Along with her prison sentence and the hefty restitution bill, Farris won’t be allowed to travel by commercial aircraft without prior approval.

This isn’t the first time someone has caused such a disturbance on a plane. In 2021, a unruly passenger on an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Charlotte pushed a flight attendant and tried to open the cabin door; the Federal Aviation Administration fined her $81,950.

“As of April 4 (2022), there had been 1,081 unruly passenger reports and 707 mask-related incidents on flights this year. As a result of those incidents, 309 investigations have been initiated, 159 FAA enforcement cases have been started, and 80 cases have been referred to the FBI for a criminal review,” explained USA TODAY.

According to the FAA, unruly passengers are referred to the FBI. Penalties for bad behavior can range from jail time and fines to denial of TSA PreCheck services and even being placed on the no-fly list.

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