Violent passenger tries to strip on flight to Charlotte, feds say. Now he faces prison

American Airlines is resuming daily nonstop flights between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and London Heathrow on June 3, 2022. American is using the Boeing 777, similar to this one seen preparing to land at Miami International Airport in 2021. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
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A 33-year-old man faces prison time after he became erratic and tried to remove his clothes while on a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, federal officials said.

Adam Alexander Williams, of Auburn, Washington, pleaded guilty to interference with flight members and attendants, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana said in a June 30 news release.

An attorney for Williams did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

Williams was on an American Airlines flight from Seattle when he yelled out “Where is Jamie Sanders?” before he jumped over passengers in his row and landed on an in-service beverage cart, the release states.

Once he got off the cart, he pushed a flight attendant into her seat and sent drinks and cups flying, according to the release.

Then he ran down the aisle of the plane, prosecutors said.

Flight attendants escorted Williams to his seat where he remained calm for about 10 minutes, according to the release.

Then he screamed an obscenity and started to “act up” so several Marines, who were passengers, sat in the seats around him, the release states.

After several more minutes, he got out of his seat again and tried to take his clothes off while screaming.

The pilot then turned the plane around and landed in Billings, Montana, so Williams could be removed.

Williams faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison as well as a $25,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20.

The number of unruly passenger cases on U.S. airlines has increased dramatically since 2020, when the FAA investigated 183 cases. That grew to 1,099 in 2021.

Many of the cases were sparked by passengers upset with mask mandates during the height of COVID-19, others were alcohol-related.

So far this year, through June 28, there have been 1,562 reports of unruly passengers and of those, 520 warranted investigations, the FAA says.

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