AeroMéxico flight to Mexico City diverted to Texas to weed out unruly passengers

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By web staff

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HOUSTON, Texas (KTVT) — An AeroMéxico flight from Toronto to Mexico City was diverted to Texas early March 3 to remove three passengers who appeared to be intoxicated.

AeroMéxico Flight 617 landed at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 3:42 a.m., according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

The passengers, two men and a woman, were told they were not allowed to consume alcohol by a flight attendant, according to an account of the incident from the Houston Police Department, and were asked finish their drinks.

“But following this incident, all three individuals continued to refuse to cover their faces with their masks, were rude, confrontational and appeared to be intoxicated,” according to police department spokesman Kese. Smith.

The flight attendant alerted the captain, who diverted the plane to Houston.

Police encountered the flight and all three were removed from the plane. Two passengers were transported to the Houston Sobering Center, a facility where people can be transported without being arrested to avoid a criminal record for public intoxication.

No charges have been filed for either passenger. The third passenger was turned over to Customs and Border Protection, Smith said, “as apparently he had no entry at the American stipulation, so obviously we cannot take him to the Sobering Center because that would enter in the U.S. States.”

Augusto Bernal, a spokesperson for Houston Airport System, confirmed that “Houston Police and CBP met the flight and removed the passengers from the aircraft. The flight departed shortly thereafter for Mexico City,” Bernal said via email.

AeroMéxico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unruly passenger behavior hit record highs in the United States last year, with nearly 6,000 reports of unruly behavior recorded by the Federal Aviation Administration. So far this year, the FAA has logged 712 reports.

The agency said in mid-February that 80 of the disruptive incidents on planes since the start of last year had been referred to the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution.

In February, an American Airlines flight attendant hit an unruly passenger in the head with a coffee maker as he tried to open the plane’s exit door and the flight was diverted. The FBI was involved in the case and the passenger was charged with one count of assault and intimidation of a flight attendant.

The FAA does not have the authority to prosecute criminal cases, but it can issue fines of up to $37,000 per violation for unruly behavior.

In November, the FAA proposed $161,823 in civil penalties against eight passengers for alleged incidents of unruly behavior involving alcohol.

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