'Crazy' US flight attendant charged with attacking crew

2015-12-01 05:17
American Airlines. (Bill Montgomery, AP)

American Airlines. (Bill Montgomery, AP)

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New York - An American Airlines flight attendant who described herself as "crazy" and a "train wreck" attacked fellow crew members and US marshals during a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Frankfurt, Germany, last week, according to documents filed in federal court.

The complaint, filed on Wednesday in the US District Court in Charlotte, says Joanne Snow is charged with interference with flight crews and attendants, and with assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer or employee of the United States. Snow was scheduled to appear in court Monday, but the appearance was cancelled.

American Airlines spokesperson Katie Cody said the airline is co-operating with federal law enforcement in an investigation and is working directly with employees. Asked about Snow's status with the airline, she declined to comment.

In an affidavit, federal air marshal Joseph Fialka says Snow's fellow flight attendants told him she was acting erratically.

He said they had requested that she not work the flight, but American Airlines management didn't remove her.

"Before we even departed Charlotte, Snow made several unsolicited comments to me that she was 'crazy' and a 'train wreck,'" Fialka said. "I have worked around Snow several times prior to this. Her behaviour on November 23 and 24, 2015, was exceptionally unusual."

Fialka said that while Flight 704 was en route, one flight attendant told him that Snow slapped her in the face while they were in the aircraft's middle galley. Around 45 minutes later, he said Snow shoved him several times on his shoulder and arm as he was seated. She then went to the back of the plane, where Fialka said she grabbed the collar of another air marshal.

About 90 minutes after that incident, Fialka said he was talking with another air marshal when Snow became upset and hit him in the chest with an open palm. He said her behaviour continued for the rest of the flight, adding that Snow's fellow attendants were intimidated and unable to perform their duties.

Fialka said Snow and the same crew were assigned to the return flight from Frankfurt to Charlotte on November 25. He said Snow "appeared to be mentally unstable on this flight as well." He said when the plane reached Charlotte, the crew and the air marshals attempted to seek help for Snow, but she became more agitated and upset.

"I noted that she screamed 'The Air Marshals are gonna get me!" he said, adding that when Snow tried to get past the passport control officer, he told her she would be detained if she didn't stop. She was eventually handcuffed and taken to an interview room, but Fialka said her tirade turned physical before she got there.

"She sat down and laid completely on her side," he said. "When I reached down to lift her back up she kicked me approximately five or six times, striking both my legs."

Fialka said he needed help from other law enforcement officers to get her to the interview room.

Read more on:    american airlines  |  us  |  air travel

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