Flight Forced Into Emergency Landing After Woman Who Was Refused Alcohol Allegedly Charges Cockpit
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Flight Forced Into Emergency Landing After Woman Who Was Refused Alcohol Allegedly Charges Cockpit

'Sometimes I Need a Cocktail to Cool off and Calm Down’: Flight Forced Into Emergency Landing After Woman Who Was Refused Alcohol Allegedly Charges Cockpit

(Photo: WRAL/YouTube)

A woman seated in first class was denied alcohol on a recent flight from Jacksonville to Washington, D.C. The events that followed resulted in the American Airlines flight emergency landing in North Carolina on Wednesday. 

Tiffany Miles was charged with airport obstruction after being restrained on a flight and accused of attempting to breach the cockpit. The incident began with Miles attempting to order a cocktail. 

According to the American Airlines website, “A First ticket gets you our highest level of service on flights between the U.S. 50 states.”

Miles said what occurred was a huge misunderstanding.

According to WRAL News, Miles explained that she flies often and has never had any issues, but she does have anxiety.

“I have anxiety,” Miles said. “So, sometimes I need a cocktail to cool off and calm down.”

Miles said she attempted to ask for a drink before the flight took off and offered the flight attendant a tip. The attendant informed her that there was no drink service and refused her tip. Then, during the flight, Miles again asked for a cocktail but was told alcohol was not being served. 

She tried to find out why she could not order alcohol on the flight. It is unclear why the drink service was refused.

“I am already having high anxiety at this moment because we are almost an hour late and my shot that I took before was wearing off and we are about to fly,” Miles said, as reported by WRAL News.

After being refused alcohol again, Miles said she started walking towards the bathroom which is also in the direction of the cockpit. 

When she got near the cockpit, two flight attendants stopped her and a passenger also stepped in to calm her down. Miles was then allowed to return to her seat. 

“I started freaking out because so many people started getting up on me,” Miles said. “I started freaking completely out, saying, ‘This is not called for.’”

Miles said she felt endangered.

“I said, ‘You are acting like I am doing something to you, but I feel like I am being threatened,'” Miles said. “‘I need help.'”

When Miles returned to her seat, things escalated.

“Just imagine four people coming up on you, two who you don’t know and they already told you they weren’t air marshals,” Miles said. “You are sitting in your chair, and they are trying to drag you out of your chair all because you asked a question and maybe wanted to go to the bathroom.

At some point, airline staff radioed air traffic control and reported that Miles attempted to breach the cockpit. An attempted cockpit breach is considered a Level Four incident by the Federal Aviation Administration. In relation to the incident, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in a Tweet said, “safety is our main concern and our top priority.”

“The flight attendant told me I had to get up out of my chair or she was going to force me to the ground and put zip ties on me,” Miles said. “I said, ‘For what?!’

The flight attendant put her in zip ties and sat her in the back of the plane. In the video Miles shared, it appears passengers are also retraining her and she does not appear to be resisting.

What occurred on the flight made Miles feel “like she was under attack” and she thinks the flight attendants need training.

Miles said, “I was never expecting to go to jail.” 

When the plane landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), Miles was removed by police.

According to WRAL News, on Wednesday, the FBI interviewed Miles at RDU and as of Thursday afternoon, she is not facing federal charges. 

According to American Airlines, Miles was unruly and presented a security concern. This forced the emergency landing at RDU. 

RDU Police filed the airport obstruction charge against Miles. The lesser charge might suggest American Airlines did not have the proof to charge Miles with attempting to breach the cockpit. It is ambiguous whether the flight attendant overreacted during the event. 

Miles was banned from flying from RDU and is due in Wake County District Court on March 27.

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Jessica Gleman is the managing editor of Rum Raiders. She received her Ph.D. at the University College of Dublin in Ireland, where she studied the archaeology of ancient alcohol. Jessica has a passion for the alcohol industry, including agriculture, distillation and mixology. When Jessica is not writing about rum, she is also a travel and food enthusiast who loves going around the world and experiencing various cuisines and cultures. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and expertise and learning even more about this amazing spirit.