Passenger dispute diverts flight to JIA

By Crystal Moyer, Morning assignment desk, backup traffic reporter, cmoyer@wjxt.com
Published On: Sep 02 2014 04:19:26 AM EDT
Updated On: Sep 02 2014 06:14:09 PM EDT

ONLY ON News4JAX: video of an unruly passenger being escorted off a plane. It was diverted to Jacksonville, all because of a dispute over a reclined seat.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A Delta Airlines flight from LaGuardia to Palm Beach International Airport was diverted to Jacksonville when a passenger got into a dispute over a reclining seat.

Delta Flight 2370 departed at about 7 p.m. Monday, en route to West Palm Beach. According to Delta Airlines, the flight was diverted "due to safety reasons in regard to a passenger issue."

Passenger Aaron Klipin said described what happened.

"This woman sitting next to me knitting tried reclining her seat back, the woman behind her started screaming and swearing. The flight attendant came over and that exacerbated what was going on. She demanded the flight land," said Klipin.

Klipin said the woman who was agitated -- later identified as 32-year-old Amy Fine -- claimed she had her head down on the tray table trying sleep.

"She said something to the effect of, 'I don't care about the consequences, put this plane down now,'" said Klipin. "She started swearing at the flight attendants and demanding the flight land. The flight attendant spoke to the captain while somebody was blocking her path to the cabin. A few minutes later an announcement came on that we were diverting to Jacksonville."

According to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority police report, Fine, 32, of Boca Raton, was escorted off the plane, interviewed, then released.

According to the report, Fine said she was hit on the head with the seat in front of her reclined, and they "did have words," but claims she was not disruptive.

All three flight attendants were interviewed, telling police Fine was "disruptive and very loud," demanding that they land the plane immediately.

One flight attendant police that Fine told him to, "Eat (expletive) and die."

In her interview, Fine told officers she just had two dogs die and she was very emotional.

The Delta flight continued on to West Palm Beach, arriving after 11 p.m. Airport officials said they consulted with the FBI, then Fine was released and allowed to board a different flight.

This incident would be the third reported flight diversion caused by passenger disruption in the last few weeks.

Arguments over reclining seats contributed to two incidents last week. A Miami to Paris flight landed in Boston Wednesday, after air marshals on the plane restrained a man who fought with a passenger trying to recline in front of him, according to authorities.

Before that incident, a man on a United Airlines flight used a product called a Knee Defender to keep the seat in front of him from reclining. The woman in front, unable to recline, got into an argument with the man and reportedly threw a cup of water in his face. Both passengers were seated in United’s Economy Plus section, which gives fliers extra legroom for an extra fee.

That argument prompted the Newark, New Jersey-to-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago, according to United Airlines, adding that the unidentified passengers were not allowed back on when the plane continued on to Denver.

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