An irate Frontier Airlines passenger forced his airplane to return to the gate at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Saturday after he threatened to punch fellow fliers rather than turn off his cellphone, 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 a plane.
Deputies also booked Mississippi woman Jamie Lynn Bankston, 51, after a separate incident in which she allegedly lit a cigarette on a Southwest Airlines flight and spewed profanities at flight attendants.
Deputy Lester Wilson wrote that Alphonse boarded a Frontier flight on Saturday and refused to turn off his cellphone after the plane pulled away from the gate. When the two passengers sitting next to him tried to get him to turn off the phone, the deputy wrote, Alphonse “threaten(ed) to punch them in the face.”
Feeling threatened, Alphonse’s seatmates stood up in the aisle, according to the arrest report. The flight crew ordered the plane back to the gate, and Alphonse was handcuffed. He was 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 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 belligerent 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 on the plane 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’s 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 an officer and battery on a police officer.