We've all experienced that queasy feeling when someone on our airplane flight is getting out of line with their fellow passengers or the flight attendants. We all hope that the passenger quickly calms down, and that we can proceed to our destination without further incident.

Now, imagine that you are a few hours into a 12-hour, nonstop flight from Honolulu to New York City, and an obviously inebriated passenger starts yelling (and swearing profusely) at the flight attendants, other passengers, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's children.

Unfortunately, instead of calming down, or simply passing out, things got worse--much worse. According to a New York Post report, the passenger made life-threatening comments, "whacked" a flight attendant in the shoulder, and passengers were forced to step in to restrain him.

Faced with not a lot of good choices, the Hawaiian Airlines pilot decided to return to Honolulu--much to the dismay of the many passengers on the flight.

But, as you might imagine, turning around a large jetliner, refueling said jetliner, finding new flights for inconvenienced passengers, and paying for maintenance and a new crew does not come cheap.

In fact, the unruly passenger was just ordered by a federal judge to pay Hawaiian Airlines a grand total of $98,817 for his prolonged adventure in la-la land (plus three months' probation). Fortunately for him, he was not required by the judge to reimburse the airline for $46,900 in meal vouchers it handed out as a goodwill gesture to inconvenienced passengers.

When this wayward passenger pleaded guilty in court, he explained to the judge that he didn't "remember much" about the events onboard the Hawaiian Airlines flight.


So, the lesson from this story is simple. A drink or two to calm your nerves might be okay, but if you're tempted to push it beyond that, think twice. You might find yourself wondering why you're in Honolulu instead of New York City.

Published on: Sep 1, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.