Back to Squawk list
  • 41

United Airlines Passenger Slapped With Huge Fine For Hitting Flight Attendant

A man who disrupted a United Airlines flight has been spared jail time, but faces a hefty fine for verbally and physically assaulting a flight attendant on a flight to Tokyo. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Bill Overdue 10
It's a little over 13 hours from Chicago, I've done it many times! It gives a person plenty of time to make an ass out of themselves!
Tim Dyck 5
Having time to be an ass does not mean you have to be.
Tim Eichman 4
Only if you're ass already: plenty of people are able not be asses on 13-hour flights...
Heatseekerws6 20
As he should be heavily fined and banned from future air travel. Worried about social distancing & COVID while in jail?... bring back 'the hole' to fix that concern.
a1brainiac 5
His flight ended up being EXPENSIVE
Torsten Hoff 15
He got off easy. Of course the flight attendant can -- and should -- still file a civil lawsuit...
Not necessarily. Some employment contracts specifically limit employees abilities to sue for something that happens while on the clock.
Gary Harper 8
I seriously doubt that being physically assaulted would limit an employee's ability to file a civil lawsuit against this idiot.
Most contracts that try to control employees ability to sue don't say they *can't* sue, but that if they do sue, they are responsible for ALL of it. Some feel it's a PR issue too. But whatever.

Suing is not inexpensive, and finding a lawyer that will take the case might be hard. Many 'good' cases are not being litigated because the costs involved are believed to be higher than the amount of any possible award. So lawyers will take a case if they can put little into it, and get a lot out of it. Sick, huh...
If the F/A wants to press charges he/she are not prohibited from doing so.
Lee Withers 17
I’m wondering if the diabetes may have been a factor in his behavior. There have been incidents where a diabetic gets messed up because of not medicating properly. Also he should not be drinking.
Michael Byrne 7
I agree, as a diabetic I realize that travel, drinking, and insulin can result in a severe low blood glucose and a bad time for all. He made a serious judgement error that may have affected his judgement.
paul trubits 1
And that is why Preacher had to quick driving the 757.
sparkie624 2
I may not be interpreting your message correctly here? You aren't referring to Preacher1 that departed from us a number of years ago I hope!
If he’s ref Preacher1 I’ll guarantee the drinking part is wrong.
paul trubits 3
The FAA grounded Preacher1 because he was a Type 1 diabetic. This post was not meant to negative. We all miss his insight.
Understood. Thx
sparkie624 1
Preacher never flew a 757 just FYI.. In his later years he flew a 767 and CRJ-200/Challenger in the Corporate world...
Not trying to correct you but I believe the company he worked for had a 757 then a 767. I remember he was enamored with the 757. He talked about a t/o with tstms moving in. Max t/o with max turn to avoid. Bosses remembered that. Lol. If I’m wrong I apologize. I thought the world of Preacher. Soon as he found out I was a helo pilot in Nam same time frame as him, he befriended me and we had many nice conversations although our plans to meet never worked out. Just my old memory working here.
sparkie624 2
Preacher1 few a CRJ amd a 767 in his final days..... Negative comments to Preacher1 I will take personally... He was a great and personal friend.
Kevin Keswick 3
sparkie624 2
Yes... I remember that post well... He was a Great Friend and A real friend.
Same same here.
James Werner 4
So, he's diabetic - and he's demanding drinks? Should have been a detox/rehab requirement in his sentence?
Lee Withers 1
It is possible that he was already having the diabetic problem before he started wanting drinks. I know from past experiences-not mine that there can be serious consequences if thins get too far out of balance..
jmilleratp 10
They should have slapped this sucker, THEN slapped the fine on him. He should also be banned from flying any United States airline for X number of years.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Rick VanSice 3
Based on my over 30 plus years experience in law enforcement, I can tell you that the hit in the pocketbook is often more of a punishment than jail.
I want that Judge if I ever have to face one!
If he was a diabetic he shouldn’t have been drinking which shows his irresponsibility. He should have been made to compensate fellow passengers plus UA personnel.
padrooga23 4
I can't believe there are no criminal charges out of this. It's not ok to hit and threaten to kill someone in any context.
Jasper Buck 15
According to the court documents for Case No.: 3:20-mj-00054-MMS


A criminal complaint (charge) was filed against Mr. Kumtong was for violating 49 U.S.C. § 46504 - Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants. He plea bargained the case down to a $50,000.00 fine (not a civil penalty.) No jail time but it's on his record forever. No TSA Precheck for him.

United and the crewmember(s) involved may, and still could, seek civil damages against Mr. Kumtong now that the criminal case is over.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

wiregold -6
Yeah, those Law and Order Republicans did the country right for the last 4 years ...
Both the RNC and DNC are private corporations. They pick our presidents and let folks like you blame the 'other' side.
"To find those who control you, find whom you cannot criticize." Voltaire
Gary Denning 4
The whole story is about his plea to criminal charges. Do you mean that he should have faced more serious charges?
jmilleratp 1
He should have had to serve a month in jail to wake him up. The way they ruled it, he'll pay the fine and is likely to not change his behavior.
Dean Brossman 4
I think $50,000 means a lot more to me than it does to you. I would rather spend a month in jail than pay that fine.
patrick baker 3
the fine alone seems inadequate, his apology seems forced, the airline has not emphatically acted as yet, and a bad example sits unresolved and undefined. Jail, fines, banishment from future flights is only a start. Get to it........
Dan Grelinger 2
Let the public lynching begin!
Steven Bell 4
Yet rioters, during the past month get no punishment and go free for destroying billions of dollars worth of property, ruining lives and livelihoods, and let’s not forget killing people especially the innocent children! I do see a bit of hypocrisy here!
The same government that oversees the FAA are the same ones that made the statement let them riot people have insurance! Has nothing to do with aviation does it? But it has a lot to do with hypocrisy!
darjr26 2
Problems started shortly after takeoff. Not likely he had a drink yet. Pilot’s are allowed to fly with diabetes now so I can’t buy that as an excuse for the guy. I’m also diabetic. I think it’s way past time to start putting people in jail for actions such as this. Three months in an Alaskan prison sounds about right.
diabetic medications can affect a persons mental faculties,however, a person should check with their doctor if they are planning a long trip to see if its ok..they definitely should not be drinking alcohol!
Ken Hardy 2
Alcohol should not be served on flights, just as cigarettes' were banned years ago, if you want a drink, you can have one before you board or after you deplane, the risks outweigh the gains.
sicamore 14
I'm a heavy pilot. Could disagree with you more. The issues with disruptive passengers is very very low for the number of flights. They just trend more in the news. For long haul the combination of high cabin altitude and a drink puts most passengers to sleep. I can't imagine doing a 10 hour flight with pax struggling to get some sleep. I can bet as a whole they will be more cranky. That's from a non drinker myself
Tim Dyck 2
I seldom sleep on a plane. I read and watch movies and let others do as they please. I also seldom drink wile flying but again live and let live as long as nobody is being a jerk.
Ken Hardy 2
You may be right, I just think drinks should be limited, just one loud drunk can screw up the environment for others, I always used my D/C noise cancelling head phones on my overseas flights normally you have a 5 to 7 thousand ft cabin at cruise altitude correct?
Dan Grelinger 2
When I used to fly frequently (with an altimeter watch), cabin pressure routinely went to 8000 feet.
Dan Grelinger 4
First, this is directed to those downvoting this post, not to the other reasonable people: "If facts offend you, you are a falsehood."

Why would my post providing incidental evidence supporting FAA regs offend anyone?

From the FAA regulations

Pressurized cabins and compartments to be occupied must be equipped to provide a cabin pressure altitude of not more than 8,000 feet at the maximum operating altitude of the airplane under normal operating conditions."
tuba 1
I certainly recall stories of crews choosing to pacify noisy school groups and such by taking the cabin altitude up a notch or two. Apocryphal or not, they point out the benefits of a modest amount of... "desensitization".
OldMarmot 5
Punish the individual and not the group. There is way too much of "We need more rules to fix everything", rather than just use the tools we have, the way they were meant to be used, and move on. The rule is you don't mess with a flight attendant, the same way you don't mess with an umpire. A stiff fine, and make it stick in the courts and move on. You can't fix everybody.
WeatherWise 2
He should have been slapped, period. Several times. THEN fined.
Mike Finley 1
Strange, my comment only posted the last this the same passenger that was kneed in the stomach by another passenger setting off his anger and then becoming the focus instead of the original assult?
Tim Dyck 1
There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour.
WeatherWise 1
He should have been slapped, period. Several times. THEN fined.
C B 1
Zero tolerance. No excuses permitted. Make examples out of all disruptive passengers!
Okay. I was on an American Airlines plane, and one flight attendant was having a 'bad day', and had yelled at several people. She ended up yelling at me too. One of the other attendants shot her a look, but she was unstoppable. She kept yelling at other passengers too.

So, someone has a bad day, they should be able to take out their crappy life on everyone on the plane they choose? I think not. Thank Ford she didn't have a gun. She was getting a little too hostile.
Robert Mack 1
LOL - Robert, somehow I can’t imagine anybody ever yelling at you - you would never bring out the worst in another human being much less a cabin attendant (still laughing - your turn now)!!
Dan Grelinger 1
I used to be a fan of 'Zero Tolerance'. But I have observed that when the philosophy is actually practiced, in reality it becomes 'judging without a heart or a brain.'
Valid point. However what is the ratio of legit complaints to crew just having a bad day or an employee with an attitude or agenda? No system is perfect. I’ll put my money on the crew vs general public.
Dan Grelinger 2
'In the moment', you are correct. However, after the event, when all things can be rationally considered by a professional, the centuries-old process of weighing all facts and extenuating circumstances to render the most just result is best. And that is not 'Zero Tolerance'.
I’m not thinking zero tolerance is the prob. I’m thinking of the people who are too stupid to understand it and why it is necessary to prevent chaos in a very confined and remote environment. There is no 911 to call at fl 350.
Greg Lonnberg 1
Never understood why the intake of alcoholic beverages before and during a flight in a cattle car was a good idea...
rbt schaffer 1
Need the D B Cooper door like in the old 727..... Drop em off sans parachute.
paul gilpin 0
the last sentence of the article indicates it is an opinion piece, like flightaware comments, and not reporting.
Yup, and next month the headline will read "United Airlines Flight Attendant hit with huge fines for slapping passenger"..
ADXbear -1
I'd go further, the FAA Should add him to the banned list for any airline! A clear message must be sent that flight crews aren't to be touched and they will pa for all diversion costs starting at $50k!
I still feel there should be no alcohol served on flights, and a passenger may not board drunk.
dkenna 8
Seriously? No alchohol served on flights?! You gotta be kidding. How about we hold the individual accountable instead of punishing everyone. This is the same logic I ran into while in the military and it drove me insane. Punish me for his actions and you think that is going to result in increased morale and teamwork... You just made me hate the people I work with even more!! Now you are gonna punish the majority of responsible adults because an assole acted up? Please, rethink this position. You just hurt the responsible individual and the drunks will still get a bottle from Duty Free and end up shitfaced before we hit cruise.
Dan Grelinger 1
If some people won't get your message unless we add capital punishment to the penalties that one faces for bad behaviors, would that be OK, too?

Judging others is not as easy as you make it out to be. Unless one is ruled by raw emotion. Then it is 'easy'.

I'm betting that you are an armchair judge, not a real one.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Jack Poole 6
You cant assault anyone at walmart either. That was not comlaining
craigbell1941 -5
Except you can be arrested for complaining if you piss off a flight attendant
jmilleratp 5
He ASSAULTED her. And, you obviously do not know Federal Regulations regarding interfering with a flight crew.
Robert Mack 3
I’m somewhat slow and confused but wasn’t there any men in close proximity to protect the cabin staff?
Tim Dyck 3
Sadly if Inhad been there he would have been on the floor apologizing to the flight attendant and I would have been arrested. I will not tolerate a man hitting a woman but in today's world guys like me gat arrested and judges like to make examples of us.
Robert Mack 2
Totally agree, Mr. Dyck!!!
AndyShank 3
Your point is well-taken, but intervening in a stranger’s altercation has multiple hazards. Physical, legal, unwanted publicity, and more. Ideally we could just come to each other’s aid, but the courts and the media don’t always reward that.
Dan Grelinger 2
Robert, I think you're referring to a bygone, albeit more civilized, age.
Robert Mack 4
Andy, Dan - you are both absolutely right. Look, I’m an old man but I have to admit that if it was any crew member or either of you or our friends here that were being threatened, I couldn’t be an observer or witness. Never looking for a reward, only what is honorable and right. Hopefully there would have been a medical professional onboard to render aid after I’d crushed his larynx.
Mike Finley -2
Robert Mack 0
Lay a hand on a crew member or a friend and you can call it whatever you want.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.