For the second time in a week, a ruckus over a reclining seat causes flight to be diverted


An American Airlines plane takes off at the Miami International Airport on Feb. 7, 2013 in Miami. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Frenchman on an American Airlines flight en route to Paris from Miami is facing federal charges after a clash over reclining seats caused the flight to be diverted to Boston on Wednesday.

The passenger, Edmund Alexandre, was arraigned on Thursday at Massachussetts General Hospital on charges of interfering with a flight crew, NBC reported. He was reportedly being treated there for an unrelated pre-existing condition. Prosecutors recommended $500 cash bail, and Alexandre, 60, was approved for release on his own recognizance until December, when he’s due to appear in court again.

According to the Associated Press, a crew member tried to calm Alexandre down after he became upset when a woman in front of him reclined her seat. The Suffolk County district attorney’s office said he followed the crew member down the aisle and grabbed him by the arm. Two undercover federal air marshals aboard flight 62 sprung into action to subdue the unruly passenger and handcuffed him.

The diverted plane landed at Boston’s Logan airport at around 10 p.m. Alexandre was arrested and taken to the hospital to be treated for pre-existing health issues. He told authorities he had high blood pressure and diabetes, according to federal prosecutors.

An American Airlines spokesman told the AP the other passengers continued on to Paris Wednesday.

The incident was the second time a legroom-related fight caused a flight to be diverted this week. On Sunday, a United Airlines flight was diverted after a passenger tried to prevent another from fully reclining a seat with a Knee Defender and a fight broke out. The New Jersey to Denver flight was diverted to Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.
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Gail Sullivan · August 28