Law Office of Philip R. Nathe
The law is meant to be predictable. Without a clear understanding of what the law expects of them, it becomes virtually impossible for citizens to consciously follow it. Therefore, the government tends to do a decent job educating the public about what kinds of behavior are considered criminal and what kinds are not. However, there is room for confusion when certain criminal behaviors are not well publicized.
For example, most Americans will tell you that drunk driving, sexual assault and illegal drug distribution are all illegal behaviors. But many Americans may not know that virtually any kind of disorderly conduct on an aircraft can result in federal charges against the person disturbing the flight.
In the wake of terrible tragedy on September 11, 2001, the federal government exercised broad authority to regulate passenger behavior on airplanes and hold violators accountable. One man recently learned that disorderly behavior on an aircraft will not be responded to by fellow passengers and airline personnel lightly.
Earlier this month, a man bound for New York on a flight from Iceland made the irresponsible decision to consume an entire bottle of alcohol he had purchased from a duty-free shop inside the airport. He the allegedly began spitting on others, inappropriately grabbing females on the flight and even made threats against the crew when they tried to get him to settle down.
His behavior inspired the crew of the airline to duct tape him to his seat and to similarly gag him with the heavy-duty tape.
It is not illegal to consume an entire bottle of alcohol unless you are a minor. However, it is important to know that if your alcohol consumption leads you to behave in an obnoxious way, you could be brought up on charges whether you are in the air or on the ground.
Source: NY Daily News, “Icelandic Air passenger taped to his seat, gagged after drunken rampage aboard JFK-bound flight,” David Knowles, Jan. 4, 2013
Conduct on plane leaves passenger duct-taped to his seat