Crime & Courts

Pilot has choice words for passenger charged with attacking attendant, being drunk

The 25-year-old Kentucky man accused of attacking members of the flight crew on a Charlotte-bound plane is banned from flying as he awaits trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Michael Kerr appeared in U.S. District Court on charges of being intoxicated and disruptive, assault on a female, communicating threats and interfering with the duties of a flight crew or attendant. He was released on $25,000 bond, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A video shows the pilot taking Kerr to the floor of the plane saying: “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!”

Kerr then warns the pilot that he’ll regret the move when the incident is captured on Facebook.

The court ordered that Kerr cannot fly on commercial airlines and must not make contact with the flight attendant he attacked.

The judge’s ruling concerned an incident on a July 21 American Airlines flight from Lexington, Ky., to Charlotte. Kerr was charged with attacking the flight crew after the plane had landed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Kerr – who had consumed three drinks of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey on board – refused to sit down after the flight crew asked passengers to stay seated as they taxied to the gate.

According to an FBI affidavit, Kerr remained standing. When an attendant interceded, Kerr threatened to break her jaw.

Kerr walked quickly to the front of the plane and cursed at the flight crew. He kicked one attendant in the leg and shoved another to the floor, the affidavit says. The pilot and co-pilot, listed only by their initials in the document, got Kerr on the ground and used a seat belt strap to restrain his legs and keep him from kicking.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers dragged him off the plane as he spat, yelled, and kicked. The plane had departed from Lexington, Ky.

The flight attendant’s friend Tanise Love said the woman is thankful for the support she has received since the incident. She was supported in court today by co-workers and friends, but Love said she has also received support from strangers.

Love said that the flight attendant is currently in physical therapy about three to four times a week with neck and back pain. She’s been a flight attendant for about seven years.

“She’s as angry as anyone would be, but she’s also very forgiving,” Love said. “I don’t think she’s so much focused on the assailant or his wrongdoing, she’s just focused on getting better.”

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) issued the following statement about the incident:

“We have seen an increase in these incidents throughout the industry. The biggest frustration is delays and cancellations, and that has the added problem of people sitting at airports and going to a bar and drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a leading cause of air-rage incidents, as it seems to be in this case.”

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