A JetBlue flight was diverted to Salt Lake City early Monday after a passenger who requested a headset became upset when told that he needed to pay with a credit card and said, "I will take this plane down."
The passenger, Kevin Theodore Simon, 45, of Venice, Calif., was traveling on an overnight flight from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The dispute began when he requested a headset from a flight attendant. "When he was told that the airline couldn't accept cash — there was a credit-only policy — he began to argue with one of the flight attendants," FBI spokeswoman Debbie Dujanovic told msnbc.com.
JetBlue only accepts credit cards for onboard purchases.
Dujanovic said that Simon "became enraged" and an argument started. He later requested an alcoholic drink and was denied because he seemed intoxicated. Due to complaints from other travelers, he was moved to a different seat.
The incident escalated further when a flight attendant moved something from an overhead bin and an item fell and hit Simon on the shoulder.
"He became belligerent with the flight crew," Dujanovic said. She said that Simon demanded an apology from the flight attendant and wanted to file a complaint, and a crew member gave him a toll-free number. "He repeatedly stated in a loud voice, 'I will take this plane down.' "
JetBlue Flight 278 touched down at Salt Lake City International Airport at 12:41 a.m. on Monday. Simon was removed from the plane and met by TSA and law enforcement officials, who took him into custody on a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew.
Passengers were delayed for about an hour, and then the plane continued on to Fort Lauderdale without incident.
Simon appeared before a U.S. magistrate on Tuesday and is scheduled for a detention hearing on Thursday in federal court, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.