And it sounds like he got off easy.
Alcohol Liquor Whiskey Airplane cabin window drunk passenger
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

On November 29, a badly behaved passenger forced a non-stop flight to New York City to return to Honolulu — and this week, he was forced to pay Hawaiian Airlines $97,817.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, James August pled guilty in February to “interfering with flight crew.”

Court documents indicate that August insulted his girlfriend, her children, other passengers, and flight crew, as well as making “multiple life-threatening comments.”

August even slapped a flight attendant on the shoulder with the back of his hand.

In an affidavit, August is described as swearing and yelling, and becoming even “more belligerent and aggressive” after the captain threatened to take further action.

In federal court, August pleaded guilty and admitted to the judge that he didn’t “remember much.”

According to the affidavit, August had been drinking prior to the flight as well as during the flight. Passengers even recalled August taking a pill and consuming alcohol he had personally brought onboard the plane.

In a follow-up article by the Star-Advertiser, August’s nearly-$98,000 penalty will satisfy extra costs Hawaiian Airlines incurred by returning the plane to Hawaii (fuel, maintenance, additional crew, and landing fees, among others), as well as the cost of rebooking travelers with other airlines.

The restitution does not, however, cover nearly $47,000 in meal vouchers the airline handed out to passengers delayed on both sides of the country.

August will also face three years of probation, but he may have gotten off easy. He was facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 — not even including restitution to Hawaiian Airlines.