If an individual assaults, threatens, or intimidates a flight crew member while they are onboard a plane, it is very likely that they will be arrested and charged with a serious criminal offense. According to 49 U.S.C. § 46504, when a person’s actions (i.e. threatening, intimidating, etc.) “interfere with the performance of [a] crew member’s duties or lessens the ability of that crew member to perform his/her duties,” they are breaking the law.


What are some examples of interfering with a crew member?


An individual may be accused of violating 49 U.S.C. §46504 if they:

  • Ignore a flight attendant’s requests to sit down. Regardless of whether a passenger is unhappy with their seat or has another concern, they are required to obey a flight attendant’s orders. If a flight attendant asks an individual to sit down or remain in their seat, they are required to listen. Anyone who disobeys a flight attendant’s commands could be arrested for their failure to comply.
  • Blocking a flight attendant from walking down the aisle. Passengers do not have the authority to block a flight attendant from passing through the aisle. If an individual refuses to move out of a flight attendant’s way, they could be arrested for their behavior.
  • Argue with other passengers. If a passenger argues with other passengers, they could potentially face criminal charges if it interferes with a flight attendant’s ability to perform his/her duties.


If an individual assaults, threatens, or intimidates a flight attendant or crew member, they are violating federal law. Those who assault or threaten a crew member could face a civil penalty of up to $35,000 and may face other charges for their actions.1

If an individual was arrested in an airport, while on a flight, or they are facing a civil penalty for the behavior they displayed while onboard an aircraft, they should consider retaining a Largo, FL criminal defense lawyer. A criminal defense attorney will:

  • Help them understand the charges they are up against and what their options are.
  • Help them make an informed decision as to how they should proceed with their case.
  • Fight for a fair outcome.
  • Provide them with advice and support throughout the duration of their case.

Anytime a person has been charged with a criminal offense in Largo, they may have questions or concerns only a skilled Largo, FL criminal defense attorney can address. If an individual is facing any type of criminal charge and would like to discuss it with a Florida criminal lawyer, they can contact Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law.


With its office based in Largo Florida, Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law primarily practices in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco County, and throughout the state of Florida.


Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law is located at:


801 W Bay Drive, Suite 509

Largo, FL 33770

Phone: 727-581-5813

Website: www.trevenajames.com



  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/49/46318
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