Monday, November 4, 2013

Puerto Rico: US Citizen Arrested by FBI for Interviewing with an Air Crew, Facing Years in Prison

According to The Latin American Tribune, Alicía González was arrested for interfering with JetBlue crew members and attendants. On October 31, 2013, Alicia González was taken into custody by the FBI and charged with interference with flight crew members and attendants, according to Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), San Juan Division. 

A federal complaint states that on October 31, 2013, González traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, via JetBlue Airlines Flight 1503. This flight originated in New York City (JFK) on October 30, 2013, at approximately 2349 hours and arrived at San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport on October 31, 2013, at approximately 0316 hours. 

González, a US citizen, was initially assigned seat 7D, but was later moved to 24C after an incident involving two flight attendants. 

During boarding and beginning portion of the flight, González was observed acting rudely toward the flight crew. During flight, González made a visit to the aircraft’s lavatory. Upon exiting, González sat in an empty seat identified by the flight attendants as a premium seat. 

A premium seat is a seat that requires the client/passenger to pay an extra fee that provides more legroom to the traveling public. 

Flight attendant A employed by JetBlue Airline who was on duty during JetBlue Flight 1503, advised González that she needed to move back to her original seat because that seat was a premium seat and required an extra fee. 

COMMENT: At approximately 0100 hours, prior to scheduled landing in San Juan, flight attendant A was offering snacks and refreshments to the passengers when González hit the chips basket with her hand. Several bags of chips fell on the aircraft’s aisle/deck, and some of the bags hit passengers that were sitting in the vicinity of Gonzalez’s assigned seat. 

At that, González became very upset at Flight Attendant A and began swearing at her. Fortunately, the flight attendant ignored the comments in an attempt to defuse the situation. Thereafter, González bumped the flight attendant with her shoulder while walking down the aircraft’s aisle.

González then began to yell derogatory comments and swear words at the flight attendant without provocation. Because of her derogatory comments, the flight attendant felt that González was expressing racially motivated verbal abusive comments directed at her.

González subsequently attempted to confront Flight Attendant A. Fortunately, though, another flight attendant employed by JetBlue stood between González and Flight Attendant A. 

González was acting in a very aggressive manner and continued in her efforts to persist in her attack on Flight Attendant A. Fortunately, another JetBlue flight attendant stepped in to protect Flight Attendant A, which resulted in the threat being neutralized until the flight's arrival in San Juan.
The incident was reported during the flight to JetBlue Security Department, which was subsequently relayed to Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), resulting in the FBI arresting González upon the flight's arrival in Puerto Rico.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to a maximum of 20 years for interference with flight crew members and attendants.

Needless to say, interfering with a commercial flight crew or flight attendant is strongly discouraged.