A 29-year-old woman who made threats over donning a face mask while flying to Hawaii, thereby causing the pilots to turn the plane around now owes the airline almost $40,000 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona said Wednesday.
Cayla Farris of Hawaii was on an American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Hawaii on February 13, 2022. In the course of the flight, Farris threatened the flight crew and nearby passengers and used profane language.
Shortly after the plane took off from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, a flight attendant told the woman she needed to put her mask on as part of the airline’s policy that was in place at the time. The woman followed the crewmember’s instructions but later removed the mask, her plea agreement states.
After doing so, she threatened and cursed at the flight crew and other passengers, according to the plea agreement.
“As a result of her behavior, the flight crew was unable to continue their duties,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The captain ultimately decided to turn the plane back to Phoenix. For passengers onboard, this disturbance caused several flights to be re-routed to Hawaii.”
Farris was sentenced last week by United States District Judge Susan M. Brnovich to a time-served sentence of 3.6 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, during which she will not be permitted to travel by commercial aircraft without prior approval of the court.
The passenger was further ordered to pay $38,952.00 in restitution to American Airlines for costs relating to turning the aircraft around and other delays.
Farris pleaded guilty on September 12, 2023, to Interference with a Flight Crew Member.
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