What was supposed to be a direct, non-stop Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon to Anchorage, Alaska, became a bit more complicated when the plane was forced to land prematurely in Seattle.
There were no technical malfunctions, terrorist threat, or serious illness on the Alaska Airlines flight.
Instead, it was an unwanted kiss that forced the aircrew to divert the flight, landing in the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to drop off the man, who is being charged with fourth-degree assault.
On Tuesday police confirmed that a 23-year old California man had been taken into custody following reports that he had tried to kiss a female passenger sitting in the seat next to him – while she was asleep.
To make matters worse, the target of his unsolicited sign of affection is a minor – a 16-year old girl.
The pilot was quickly notified about the incident, while the flight crew distanced the man from the teenage girl.
In light of criticism levelled at airlines for their mishandling of similar incidents in recent months, the pilot immediately requested to land in Seattle, where the man was handed over to police custody. After the delay, the flight took off again and continued on its way to Alaska.
In May a woman on board another Alaska Airlines flight complained that a female passenger had groped her.
Last week a 26-year old man groped a 13-year old girl for a full half an hour during an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Portland before flight attendants intervened. The child’s parents criticized the airline for its handling of the incident.
“They didn’t make him move,” the family’s attorney said. “They let him sit there until she was abused for 30 minutes.”