Exclusive: Flight Diverts When Passenger Drinks His Own Hennessy, Chokes His Wife

Saturday night’s JetBlue flight 2404 from San Juan to New York JFK diverted to Richmond after a passenger, who brought their own alcohol on board, got into an altercation with their wife.

A passenger on board the aircraft shared with View From The Wing that the man had brought on a bottle of Hennessy, was visibly intoxicated, and had “choked out his wife.”

The pilots of the Airbus A320 aircraft, which had departed Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport around 8:30 p.m., made the decision to get onto the ground in Richmond to offload the man. They landed at 11:49 p.m. and spent 74 minutes on the ground.

During that time law enforcement came on to remove the offender:

Passengers clapped as the man was dragged off, and the JetBlue flight got back into the air at 1:03 a.m. – finally making it to JFK airport at 1:50 a.m., around 2 hours late.

While a passenger can drink alcohol they’ve brought on board if it’s served to them by a flight attendant, they cannot drink that alcohol surreptitiously. These rules are designed to limit consumption by passengers who might otherwise drink too much, and whose behavior could spin out of control and threaten the rest of the flight. In this case, it seems, the passenger’s behavior threatened their spouse. And it ended in an arrest, though it’s not yet clear the result of the charges. I’ve reached out to JetBlue for comment on the incident and will update with any response.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Higher airfares are needed to curb this behaviour a bit more. Bring back the times of civility during air travel. This man needs banned from commercial airlines world wide.

  2. An inflight alcohol ban may be coming because a few of society’s adult delinquents who are unable to conduct themselves properly at the airport or on a plane.
    Would love to see a “One strike you are out” national database for these offenders.

  3. The simple solution is to take folks who do this and ban them for 10-20 years from flying commercially on any US airline. Create a no-fly list.

  4. This behavior all started after the mask mandate and COVID.

    Masks and COVID caused the American people to act ridiculous and think they can get away with it. When it’s all over the news people get off free for doing crimes, you have those but cases who think they can do this on the airplane because they can do it anyway else in the US and get off free.

  5. Only time you can be served your own alcohol by a flight attendant is if you are seated in a business/premium class cabin. Otherwise, all passengers in main cabin are required to purchase alcohol supplied by the airline.

  6. When passengers achieve recognition and approval to be added to the no fly list because they were drunk while flying, they may take advantage of a new opportunity to be drunk while driving.

  7. @Bruce: I don’t think I should have to pay higher prices because there’s a few idiots that can’t control themselves. Flights are expensive enough. I am not wealthy, but I am well behaved and I need to travel sometimes. They need to ban alcohol, at least on domestic flights. If someone can’t go a few hours without a drink they’ve got problems.

  8. @Bruce

    I really don’t need you preaching morality. The vast majority of people I know can drink one or two drinks without drunkenness and being disorderly.

  9. I happen to think @Raif is correct. I see the *airlines* looking for an alcohol ban. Think how much easier their lives would be. I disagree w/@Very Gruntled Flyer. I am a long-haul traveler only these days, but I enjoy a drink on the first leg, as that denotes to me I am “off the clock”.
    I also agree this is a post-Pandemic problem, although quite why is beyond me. Very sadly, it may take draconian penalties to stop it — even if it’s the airlines collectively refusing to fly a violent or drunken passenger for 5, 10, more? years. They don’t need the criminal justice system to do that.

  10. @ David R. Miller . . . Yep and it doesn’t usually end well, sometimes for the police that are just doing their job.

  11. Biden and Buttgag can fix this mess.
    1. $10,000 fine; subject to wage garnishment and/or withheld from any tax refund, government benefit payment, or from payment such as social Security or Medicare.
    2. 30 days in jail; no bail
    3. Lifetime no-fly listing and banned from all commercial airlines

  12. While some airlines may allow you to be served alcohol you brought on yourself, it’s best to check with each individual airline. Can you imagine flight attendants trying to serve 250 main cabin passengers their own alcohol!

  13. @Gary Leff

    Alright kid I’ll give your blog a try.

    Rum is cheap I remember as a child coming back from SJU JFK my mom ran into a co worker who offered to give us a ride to our car in long term parking. It didn’t go well as her friend was looking back and talking with my mom while driving the entire time. These in flight incidents never seem to happen on my dime. I would for sure intervene.

  14. USA…nation of slobs,trash and bums …you’re welcome ….can’t probably even read anyway

  15. after a passenger, who brought their own alcohol on board, got into an altercation with their wife.

    There was more than one offending passenger? And the wife had two or more husbands?

    Sorry, “their” is PLURAL. In the next paragraph, the offender was clearly identified as a “man”.

  16. @Very Gruntled Flyer — Nope. Some of us can handle ourselves just fine. Just as you dont want to be punished by higher fares, I dont want to be punished by lost services and amenities. Just ban the people who misbehave for 5-15 years.

  17. They/their has been used as a singular since the 1300s. It became more commonly a plural in the 1800s but was still commonly used as a singular when the gender of the antecedent was unknown/unclear.
    While I think using it when the gender of the antecedent is known seems awkward, it is not grammatically incorrect.

  18. Even so, since the gender of the offender was known (since he was referred to as a “man” in the second paragraph), “he” or “him” in the first paragraph would have been correct.

  19. Oh how I miss the 70’s & 80’s commercial air travel..decent (free) hot meals, deck of airline cards, magazines, enjoying a smoke, possibly greater chances of a crash.. those were damn good days

Comments are closed.