An irate Frontier Airlines passenger forced his airplane back to the gate at the New Orleans International Airport on Saturday after he threatened to punch his fellow fliers rather than turn his cellphone off, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
New Orleans resident Quilton Alphonse, 31, wasn’t the only one arrested over the weekend for reportedly raising a ruckus on plane. Deputies also booked Mississippi woman Jamie Lynn Bankston, 51, for a separate incident in which she allegedly lit a cigarette on a Southwest flight then spewed profanities at flight attendants.
Deputy Lester Wilson wrote in a probable cause statement that Alphonse boarded a Frontier flight on Saturday and refused to turn his cellphone off after the plane pulled away from the gate. When the two passengers sitting next to him tried to get him to turn the phone off, the deputy wrote, Alphonse “threaten(ed) to punch them in the face.”
Feeling threatened, Alphonse’s seatmates stood up in the aisle away from Alphonse, according to the arrest report. A flight attendant ordered the plane back to the gate, and Alphonse was handcuffed. He has been booked on two counts of simple assault and one count of disturbing the peace.
Deputies said that as Bankston’s Southwest flight flew into the airport, she was caught lighting a cigarette in the restroom.
When Bankston was confronted, she allegedly became “verbally abusive” to the staff on the plane. A flight attendant told authorities that Bankston had had four drinks.
Capt. Troy Whitney wrote in a report that Bankston “became belligeerent and spout(ed) a slew of profanities as passengers including children were exiting the aircraft.” As she tried to leave, Whitney said, he ordered her to stay and she “extended both middle fingers in a dismissive manner.”
Further disturbances followed as deputies tried to take Bankston away, they said. She allegedly grabbed one sergeant by the groin and squeezed. Once in the airport police cage, they said, she made “profane and derogatory statements to every officer in the police office.”
Bankston was booked on counts of disturbing the peace, resisting and officer and battery on a police officer. Attempts to reach her and Alphonse were not successful.