April 9, 2013 at 3:39 PM ET
A passenger who allegedly groped a flight attendant on a plane and boasted that he could show her “a better time than work” is grounded for the near future and facing serious charges.
The incident happened on Friday on board a Spirit Airlines flight en route from Las Vegas to Denver.
The passenger, Evan Nathaniel Castle of Thornton, Colo., has denied causing any trouble but witnesses said he began screaming obscenities after having a few drinks, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S District Court.
A flight attendant then asked him to stop and quiet down, but he refused and told her, “You should give me your number” and “I should date you,” court documents say.
The passenger then allegedly told another flight attendant, “You’re (expletive) beautiful”, “I can show you a better time than work,” and “Blow off work and come with me.”
The crew member ignored the comments, but as she passed Castle’s seat while making a final check of the cabin before landing he “grabbed the right cheek of her buttocks and said, ‘Oh sexy,’” according to the criminal complaint.
The flight attendant later told the FBI agent who showed up to meet the plane that she felt violated and disgusted.
For his part, Castle, 24, denied making a pass at either of the flight attendants, according to the criminal complaint. This was his first time flying, he told authorities, adding that he is married and has children.
Castle said he was served four shooters of Tanqueray gin on the plane, but didn’t get drunk. He never touched the flight attendant who complained, he said, according to court documents.
Castle was arrested when the plane landed at Denver International Airport and held in custody over the weekend. He was released on a personal recognizance bond Monday, but is not allowed to drink alcohol or fly while his case is pending, said Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.
Castle is accused of abusive sexual contact on an aircraft. If convicted, he faces up to two years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He is next due in court on May 6 for a preliminary hearing.
Heather Poole, a veteran flight attendant for a major U.S. airline, has seen her share of passengers acting out on flights, though she says the misbehavior has changed over the years.
“Today, passengers are more likely to get aggressive with us than touchy feely in a sexual way. Not to say it doesn't happen,” said Poole, author of “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.”
“Recently, a female passenger hit me on the butt hard as I was passing by. She (was) angry because I stepped on her toe.”
A male passenger once asked Poole if he could lick her, she said. “The answer was no. No written warning was issued.”
When confronted with a flier who seems to have amorous intentions, Poole says she stops serving alcohol and removes herself from the situation by sending in another flight attendant to deal with the passenger. Most of the time that's all it takes, she said.
“Trust me, there are some passengers who might live a lot longer if they keep their hands off certain flight attendants,” Poole added.