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Disruptive Flyer Faces $13,500 Fine After Diversion

Disruptive Flyer Faces $13,500 Fine After Diversion
Joe Cortez

A Canadian flyer is finding out the hard way that being disruptive and causing a flight to divert back to its origin airport has an expensive cost. After a plea deal was set, prosecutors are seeking over $13,500 in damages for lost fuel, airline staff overtime wages and the use of two U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets as escorts over his drunken outburst in the skies.

A flyer who became drunk and disruptive on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to Cayo Coco Jardines del Rey Airport (CCC) in Cuba could be forced to repay the airline for returning him to Canada. The Montreal Gazette reports 41-year-old Charalabos Nassios is asking the court not to assess him a financial penalty after pleading guilty to charges against him.

Nassios was originally arrested on July 6, 2017, after the aircraft he was aboard returned to YUL when he had a disruptive outburst in air. Social media videos obtained by CTV News show the man struggling against police, as well as F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Barnes Air National Guard base in Massachusetts escorting the commercial jet back to the airport. Two months after the incident, Nassios plead guilty to assault and making threats.

During a pre-sentencing hearing, prosecutors requested three years of probation, during which time the flyer could not leave Quebec. In addition, they are seeking $17,400 CAD (approximately $13,531.78) in damages. The fees would cover fuel costs incurred by Sunwing, landing fees for the emergency diversion, overtime for airline employees and hotel costs for the 170 flyers impacted by Nassios’ behavior.

Attorneys defending Nassios claim assessing the additional fine on top of the sentence would be akin to “putting obstacles in his future path.” In arguments, the defense claims the bad publicity and the flyer’s bankruptcy as a result of his arrest have already penalized him. Nassios will be formally sentenced on April 18, 2018.

This is not the first time prosecutors have sought additional reparations after flyers go bad in the skies. Chinese officials have warned flyers who misbehave that civil and criminal penalties could await them when they return home.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (7)


  1. TMOliver

    March 30, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    A bit of ‘brig” time might be a salutatory add-on for a gormless wanker unlikely to make any real attempt to pay the fines levied against him. Besides, I see no indication that he’s being charged for the jet fuel, pilots’ and ground crew time for the F15s launched by the USAF. Let’s have him clearing ice and snow off the runways and tarmac for the next couple of Winters.

  2. lloydah

    March 30, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    So please don’t fine me as I have a miserable life is now an excuse to do what he did rather than sit and enjoy the ride?

  3. ioto1902

    March 31, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Lesson learned. The air force should also bill the fuel cost for the F15.
    But, wait, 13000 USD only for fuel cost and 170 hotel costs ? What kind of a hotel was it ??

  4. chrisboote

    April 3, 2018 at 3:53 am

    $13,000 sounds incredibly low for those costs

  5. drphun

    April 3, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Airlines could start doing the same when a fake service animal causes a problem and the plane has to be taken out of service to replace the carpeting.

  6. jrpallante

    April 4, 2018 at 7:00 am

    $13K is clearly just a tiny fraction of the actual costs incurred. I do not like the idea of jail, because that punishes the taxpayers. Restitution and public flogging would be sufficient punishment, with minimal expense to the taxpayers.

  7. mvoight

    April 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Of course he should be subject to the cost incurred due to his actions. Why should the owners of the airline have to pay?

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