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Unhinged and Unmasked: American Airlines Passenger Fined Nearly $40,000 For Making Threats To Staff And Passengers

Honolulu woman, Cayla Farris, was arrested for the incident last year in 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A belligerent American Airlines passenger was ordered to pay almost $40,000 in fines for her behavior on a Feb. 12, 2022, flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Cayla Farris pleaded guilty to threatening flight attendants and other passengers during last year’s incident. She can no longer fly on a plane without explicit permission from her current probation officer for the foreseeable future.

Farris reached a mutual plea deal with the state’s prosecutors last week regarding the incident on an American Airlines flight. According to PYOK, things went left on the plane after Farris refused to wear a mandated face mask at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A confrontation began when Farris ignored a flight attendant’s orders to put her face mask back on after 30 minutes of being on the flight. Although Farris initially complied with the order, she removed her mask against the flight crew’s instructions. The incident escalated when Farris was confronted again.

She began “cursing at and threatening passengers and aircrew members” with such severe unpredictability that the flight crew reported that they were unable to complete their flight duties during her outburst. 

Farris allegedly intimidated the flight attendants after they issued her a written warning from the Airline for her erratic behavior. The belligerent passenger crumpled the paper up and continued cursing during the flight. 

Finally, the plane’s captain was forced to turn around and cancel the rest of their travel to Honolulu, instead returning to Phoenix to ground the flight.

On the heels of Farris pleading guilty, District Judge Susan Brnovich sentenced the woman to three-and-a-half months of time served for breaking the conditions of her pre-trial release and gave an additional three years of supervised release. 

During her three-year sentence of supervised release, Farris is banned from flying on any commercial aircraft without written permission and approval from her probation officer. The Honolulu native was also hit with a hefty restitution charge for causing a disturbance on the American Airlines flight. 

Judge Brnovich ordered Farris to pay American Airlines $38,952 in restitution. Despite the guilty verdict, Farris was up against a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for interfering with the flight crew’s duties.