First-Class Passenger Sentenced to Prison Over ‘Physical Intimidation’ on Flight, Including Alleged Spitting

The woman previously pleaded guilty in connection with a charge spurred by the incident. The co-defendant in the case is set to be sentenced later this year.

An American Airlines plane is seen flying

Image via Getty/Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket

An American Airlines plane is seen flying

A first-class passenger on an American Airlines plane has been sentenced to four months behind bars in connection with “verbal and physical intimidation” during a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, 32-year-old Kelly Pichardo has been sentenced to four months in prison, as well as an additional 36 months of supervised release. Pichardo, who was previously reported to have pleaded guilty to a charge of interference with flight crew members, must also pay more than $9,000 in restitution to the airline.

“There is a line between boorish behavior on an airplane and criminal activity, and the defendant clearly crossed it,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said last week.  “First-class passengers are not immune from prosecution: defendant’s verbal and physical intimidation disrupted the travel of passengers and crew alike.”

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Leeza S. Rodriguez, Pichardo’s co-defendant, previously entered a guilty plea of her own and is set to be sentenced in November. 

According to a report from the Associated Press, both women were ultimately removed from the aircraft upon its landing in Phoenix in February of last year. Prior to their removal, the report states, both women had “assaulted” another passenger. They were also alleged to have used slurs when another passenger intervened. Pichardo, meanwhile, is further alleged to have spit at a man who tried to film the incident. 

At the time of the incident, per an initial CBS News report, both women were confirmed to have had their names added to the airline’s “internal refuse list” while an investigation was carried out.

Complex has reached out to a rep for American Airlines for additional comment. This post may be updated.

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