Man indicted in incident that diverted flight to CVG

Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 18:46:44-04

COVINGTON, Ky. -- There is a warrant out for a man who is accused of causing a plane to be diverted to CVG.

A federal grand jury in Covington indicted Donald Zuppo Thursday. Zuppo is accused of assaulting a flight attendant on a Frontier plane flying from Phoenix to Cleveland that had to be diverted to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Internation Airport in March.

Videos of people behaving poorly on airplanes sometimes go viral on social media. But according to the FAA, the number of "unruly passengers" has fallen each of the last five years to just 89 last year out of more than 15 million flights. 

Any incident that becomes violent onboard a plane is a concern for the rest of the passengers and the crew, according to Taylor Garland, the spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants. The group represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants on 20 airlines.

"People know that if you become violent or physically- or verbally agressive on the plane, it has ramifications on the ground," Garland said. 

Passenger Bobby Brantley said he's never seen a disruptive passenger on a plane, but he believes those incidents should be taken seriously.

"The risk is that they're putting other people's lives in danger," he said. "I mean, a lot of people."

Zuppo could face serious punishment if he's convicted. Some passengers have paid thousands of dollars in fines for their behavior on flights. Last month, a judge ordered a former Delta passenger to pay the airline $9,100 for diverting a plane because of his conduct. One Kentucky man was even sentenced to six months in federal prison for an incident aboard an American Airlines flight in 2016.