Man Who Tried to Open Jet Door Mid-Flight Gets 10 Months in Prison
The unruly passenger forced a Continental Airlines flight to be diverted to Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
A man who tried to open a Chicago-bound airliner’s door mid-flight was sentenced this week in a St. Louis federal court to 10 months in prison.
Reynel C. Alcaide, 34, of Burbank, Ill., is also banned from flying for the three-year term of his supervised release, and ordered to repay Continental more than $7,000 in restitution.
According to court documents, Alcaide was flying from Houston to Chicago on Mother's Day last year, when he left his seat on Continental's flight 546 and rushed to the front of the plane. He attempted to open the door while pinning a flight attendant against the wall, prosecutors said. But passengers and crew eventually pinned him, and air pressure kept the door securely shut until the plane landed.
In less than 15 minutes, the flight was on the ground at Lambert Airport.
Alcaide, who is a legal permanent resident but was born in Mexico, was returning from a trip outside the country to visit family.
He told interviewers after the incident that he was having marital problems and had tried to commit suicide before, according to an affidavit filed in St. Louis federal court last May.
Upon completion of a psychiatric exam, Alcaide pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of interference with flight crew members and attendants.