“The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement authorities were requested to interview the flight upon arrival,” she added. “We are grateful to our crew, who are constantly dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism.”
Kansas City Department of Aviation spokesman Joe McBride told CNN there was “passenger interference in the cabin crew,” adding that the incident would be under the jurisdiction of the FBI.
The FBI confirmed the incident in a statement to CNN, adding that the person in question had been taken into custody.
The passenger, a 50-year-old man, was charged with assaulting and intimidating the flight attendant and thus interfering with the performance of the duties of the flight attendant, according to a US Department of Justice press release.
The statement said the man will remain in federal detention until the date of the hearing.
Flight attendants and passengers subject passengers
“People were trying to hurt him and followed him on the plane,” the man, who is 6 feet 3 inches and 240 pounds, told the flight attendants, according to an affidavit of the incident.
The affidavit said the man told the flight attendants that he “heard people hurt his family over the phone.” When the passenger was asked what the personnel looked like, he told the flight attendants that one of them was sitting next to him on the plane and the other carrying a knife.
The affidavit said a flight attendant took the man’s phone and saw him trying to call 911, but he couldn’t get through.
Minutes after being seated, the man asked for a glass of water and then walked into the cockpit area of the plane, “and told the flight attendants that they weren’t flying and that the flight attendants were lying to him.” The affidavit said the flight attendant used a beverage cart to create distance between herself and the passenger.
The Justice Ministry press release said the man then grabbed some plastic silverware, pulled a handkerchief around it, and put the silverware into the sleeve of his shirt, “holding it like a leg.” A flight attendant told investigators he felt threatened by the knife.
“(The man) then grabbed a small bottle of champagne by the neck of the bottle and tried to break the bottle on the table. He started kicking the service cart and pushing it onto a flight attendant,” the statement read.
The statement said that the man then tried to open the exit door of the plane.
“A flight attendant grabbed a coffee pot and hit (the man) twice in the head,” the statement said. “Many passengers come forward to help the flight attendants.”
One of those passengers was a police officer, who pushed the man away from the door. The statement said one of the passengers punched the man in the jaw and another grabbed him by the neck and pulled him to the ground.
The flight attendants told investigators that they did not give the man any alcohol during the flight.
Moaz Mustafa, who lives in Washington, D.C., was on the plane and told CNN when the plane landed, and police and the FBI got on board. Passengers have been rescheduled for another flight.