An Irish man on his way to a new job in the U.S. was arrested after causing such a ruckus on his international flight earlier this month that he might spend the next 20 years in federal prison.
Shane McInerney was on his way to Daytona, Florida on Jan. 7 , 2022 to take a job coaching soccer at a sports academy. Problems with McInerney started right away when he refused to wear a mask. His behavior devolved from there, the Miami Herald reported:
“The defendant repeatedly refused to wear a face mask despite being asked dozens of times by flight crew personnel,” says the complaint filed in the Eastern District in New York.
Beside the mask issue, the private soccer coach also caused problems for other people on board, kicking the seat in front of him and throwing an empty can at someone’s head, court documents say. He also reportedly walked over from his economy seat to the first-class section and complained about the food and service. McInerney’s behavior became so boisterous that about two hours into the flight, the captain went to go speak with him. The defendant took off the pilot’s cap, put his fists in his face and said, “Don’t touch me.” In the process of being escorted back to his seat, the passenger then pulled down his pants and mooned people around him, court documents say.
No worries about assimilation into American culture here. It looks like McInerney is going to fit right in! And if he needs any more practice, he’ll have plenty of time should he end up with 20 years in federal prison for intentional assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Passengers rebelling against mask requirements are driving the skyrocketing rate of unruly passenger incidents. More than 5,700 such incidents were reported to Federal Aviation Administration by various airlines, more than 4,100 were mask-related. In a pre-COVID times, incidents reported were in the low hundreds. That’s because it was up to airlines to self-report such incidents, and many disturbances weren’t worth the time. Masks have become such a flash point, leading to assaults and threats to crew and passengers, that flight crews are taking incidents much more seriously and demanding more investigations. Southwest and American Airlines also restricted alcohol sales in the main cabin last year in an attempt to cut down on unruly behavior.
This isn’t even the only time passengers have busted into first class in the last month. Last week, two men on a flight from Newark to Tel Aviv reportedly “started a riot,” according to a passenger, when asked to return to their seats in the main cabin, MSN reported. That plane returned to Newark, and the two were arrested.