Passenger Slaps Flight Attendant on JetBlue Flight 422

by Aviation News Reporter on June 1, 2011

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NY Man On Flight From West Palm Beach Arrested In Boston…

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A New York man was arrested after he slapped a flight attendant during a flight from West Palm Beach to Boston, Massachusetts state police said.

Bryan Garnett, 48, of Utica, N.Y., was arrested Tuesday after JetBlue Flight 422 arrived at Logan International Airport.

Police said Garnett, a passenger on the plane, slapped a male flight attendant.

Garnett said the problem began when he boarded the JetBlue flight on his way back from visiting his brother in South Florida. Garnett said he sat down, reclined his seat and fell asleep.

“The flight attendant came over and instead of tapping me on the shoulder, he reaches for the button to pull the seat upright,” Garnett told WPBF 25 News in a telephone interview. “So this is my left pocket where I keep my wallet (and) my money, so my natural reaction was to push his hand away.”

But the flight attendant told police that Garnett slapped him.

“When I got to Boston, (there were) like 10 state troopers,” Garnett said. “They came and took me off the plane in handcuffs.”

The Boston Globe reported that one of its reporters was on the plane. The reporter said a flight attendant asked Garnett to put his bag beneath the seat before the plane took off, but there was no obvious commotion during the flight.

An East Boston District Court clerk later determined that the encounter occurred while the plane was on the ground in Florida. The clerk said Massachusetts has no jurisdiction to charge Garnett with interfering with a flight crew and assault and battery.

Suffolk County prosecutors said JetBlue will have to pursue the matter in Florida. A JetBlue spokeswoman said the airline wasn’t aware of the decision.

Garnett said he will never fly on JetBlue again. He also said he’s learned not to recline his seat before falling asleep.

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