I’m in Germany and went to bed last night just as this story was breaking. I admittedly chuckled when I read the headline last night, but this was no laughing matter.
Per Jon Ostrower, we have the official complaint against Joseph Hudek IV. Here’s a summary of key details:
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) July 7, 2017
- Non-rev passenger traveling in seat 1D (Delta One [business class]) from Seattle to Beijing
- Went into and out of the lavatory twice after takeoff before lunging toward the exit door and attempting to open it
- FAs tried to stop him, but failed
- Other passengers intervened: Hudek broke a dessert wine bottle over one of them and punched several in the face
- Hudek succeeded into turning the emergency release lever on the door halfway up (by 90º), prompting a “disarmed” alert in the cockpit
- The door still was unlikely to open at that high of an altitude absent superhuman strength to fully turn the lever
- A FA smashed another wine bottle over Hudek, who reacted unfazed, shouting, “Do you know who I am?”
- Hudek escaped a headlock but was finally constrained by fellow passengers and secured to his seat using zip ties.
- Penalty for crew interference is up to 20 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine
This is how the cabin looked upon landing:
Was it drugs? Too much alcohol (allegedly he was served just one beer prior to takeoff)? Perhaps a toxic mix of the two? Or just a deeply troubled character? Whatever the case, great praise is due the crew and passengers who restrained him. Three were hospitalized with minor injuries. The flight eventually took off again for Beijing.
Next up: a provocative question on how you would handle a similar situation.