Video: Passenger lights up, punches flight attendant

updated 6/20/2008 11:22:11 AM ET 2008-06-20T15:22:11

A New York woman has been accused of punching a JetBlue Airways Corp. flight attendant who tried to stop her from smoking a cigarette onboard.

Thirty-five-year-old Queens resident Christina Elizabeth Szele was advised Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Colorado of charges of assault and interference with flight attendants. She didn't enter a plea.

An FBI affidavit said Szele yelled obscenities and racial epithets at an attendant who tried to stop her from smoking on Flight 643 from New York to San Francisco on Tuesday.

Szele is accused of breaking through flex cuffs that flight attendants used to restrain her and punching an attendant in the jaw. The captain diverted the flight to Denver.

Authorities said Szele claimed she had been drinking and doesn't remember the incident.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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