A belligerent traveler on a flight from St. Croix to Miami started a massive commotion on a Wednesday flight — all because he couldn't get more beer.
According to video footage from another passenger, Bill Bolduc, the man, Jason Felix, started to get agitated when an American Airlines flight attendant wouldn't allow him to purchase more beer. Federal law prohibits the airline from serving intoxicated passengers.
"You need to please sit down, I’m not bringing you more beers," the attendant tells the man in a video of the exchange. "We will be there in an hour. Why do you have this attitude? You had a couple beers."
"You're my bartender?" the man asked the flight attendant.
"Yes, I'm your bartender!" He replied.
According to a criminal complaint, the flight attendant said that prior to denying Felix more alcohol, he already suspected the man was drunk. Earlier in the flight, he had heard Felix rummaging in the compartments in the plane's lavatory. When the flight attendant helped Felix exit the bathroom, he called the flight attendant by a derogatory term used to refer to gay men, the flight attendant later told the FBI.
Later, when the flight attendant denied Felix more beer and the man started shouting, several other passengers got involved to try to calm Felix down. Standing in the aisle, they repeatedly told him to "relax" and "chill," but Felix refused, banging on the overhead luggage compartment and saying, "No, I'm not going to relax!" in another video of the incident.
Felix then started to threaten that he was going to kill one of the passengers who was trying to calm him down and spit blood on him, according to the criminal complaint. A fight ensued, with several people trying to pry the men off each other as they threw punches.
The fight was first reported by WSVN-Channel 7. Bolduc, who filmed the altercation from seat 17F, told the TV station that the incident went on for more than an hour. Even after the fight ended, and passengers were back in their seats, the man continued to be disruptive, Bolduc said.
“Hitting the chair, swearing, yelling at other passengers, spitting at people at some point,” Bolduc, who lives in Fairfax, Virginia, told WSVN.
American Airlines said in a statement that it called law enforcement onto Flight 1293 to deal with the disruptive passenger.
"We thank our crew for taking care of our customers and are proud of the work they do every single day," the airline said in a statement.
When the flight touched down in Miami, four Miami-Dade County police officers boarded the plane and took Felix off. He was handed over to the FBI, which arrested him.
Bolduc, who later posted five videos of the incident on YouTube, also lauded the flight attendants for remaining calm throughout.
"The flight attendants were very professional and handled a bad situation the best they could. It could have quickly escalated even further if the [flight attendants] didn’t maintain their composure," Bolduc wrote in a comment on YouTube. "At one point, there was discussion of diverting the aircraft and landing before Miami but we made it there without additional people being hurt. "