Note to self: do not pick a fight while on board a moving aircraft, and then try to escape during the flight! Unfortunately, Joseph Sharkey of Reston, Virginia did not seem to get this memo. According to a statement released by United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, federal criminal complaints charging Mr. Sharkey with assault or intimidation of a flight crew were filed. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
On Sunday, January 31, 2016, the criminal complaint alleges that Mr. Sharkey was a passenger on JetBlue Flight 715 from Reagan International Airport to Jacksonville International Airport. The complaint describes the incident as follows:
During the flight, Sharkey verbally assaulted another passenger and then placed that passenger in a headlock. When ordered by a flight attendant to return to his seat, Sharkey at first complied but then assaulted the flight attendant and made an effort exit the airplane through an exit door. Sharkey was stopped by another flight attendant, but then fought with him, kneeing him in the groin. The flight attendants enlisted the help of volunteers and subdued Sharkey, placing him in flex cuffs for the remainder of the flight. The airplane landed safely at JIA and Sharkey was removed from the flight by airport police.
The New York Post has provided video of the arrest being made.
After a passenger made the mistake of trying to use the emergency exit door as a bathroom door earlier this week, let’s just say that you may want to re-think your decision for the extra leg room on your upcoming flight!