Sunday, September 3, 2017

Disruptive passenger forced to pay Hawaiian Airlines more than $97,000 in restitution

James August used a cellphone outside the Honolulu federal courthouse, Feb. 6, after pleading guilty to interfering with a flight crew.


A passenger whose disruptive behavior prompted the pilot of a nonstop flight to New York to return to Honolulu in November owes Hawaiian Airlines $97,817, a federal judge ruled Monday.

James August of New Jersey pleaded guilty in February to interfering with flight crew members and flight attendants. The government says August’s disruptive behavior started before the airplane left the ground.

During the flight he threatened his girlfriend, her children, other passengers and crew members, and had even made contact with a flight attendant on her shoulder with the back of his hand. U.S. District Senior Judge Susan Oki Mollway sentenced August in June to three years of probation.

On Monday she ordered August to repay Hawaiian Airlines the extra costs it incurred for turning its plane around. Those costs include fuel, maintenance, ground crew, replacement flight crew, landing fee and re-catering.

The restitution also includes what Hawaiian paid to find seats for passengers on other airlines. But it does not include $46,900 worth of meal vouchers the carrier handed out to the delayed New York-bound passengers and the passengers scheduled to take the return flight to Honolulu.

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