Lashonda Williams, of Houston, was sent back to Nashville along with the whole United Airlines Flight 4205 Sunday, when she uttered six words that you absolutely should never say when someone on an airplane asks you to turn off your cell phone.
First of all, cell phone use on airlines is still prohibited, though the FCC earlier this year announced that it was considering new rule changes that would make it permissible to use cell phones in flight, under certain circumstances — and only if individual airlines approved.
But none of that was on the table Sunday, when the Embraer 135 commuter jet took off from Nashville, Tennessee, Sunday morning on its way to Houston, Texas. Lashonda Williams, 43, was seated in seat 3C on the small, 50-passenger plane when, apparently, she began using her cell phone.
A fellow passenger, according to a police affidavit obtained and published on line by The Smoking Gun, then requested that she turn the cell phone off, because the airplane was in flight.
The simple request, made by another Houston resident, 50-year-old K. Colleen Coult, obviously set off a fit of air rage on the part of Williams. She not only refused to shut off her phone, she told Coult, “I kill white people like you.”
According to the police affidavit, the flight turned around and went back to Houston due to a “disruptive passenger on board,” namely Williams.
The woman also told Coult, before the plane turned around, that when the flight arrived in Houston she would follow Coult home to “find out where she lived.”
These statements understandably “created fear in Coult for her safety.”
When the United Express flight arrived back at the gate at Nashville’s airport, a flight attendant told police that Lashonda Williams’ rather chilling statements were “causing anxiety and fear throughout the cabin.”
Williams was arrested and booked into Davidson County Jail on an assault charge, because she caused Coult to “reasonably fear imminent bodily injury,” the affidavit said.
The air rage incident was one of several in recent months. In February, a Tokyo to New York All Nippon Airways flight had to make an unscheduled landing in Anchorage, Alaska, when Nobuya Michael Ochinero, 38, went “berserk” on board, yelling, spitting and striking the back of other passengers’ seats.
Then in April, a Southwest Airlines flight en route from Chicago to Sacramento, California, was diverted to Omaha, Nebraska, when a man named Joshua Suggs inexplicably attempted to open a cabin door in mid-flight.
Lashonda Williams was freed on $3,000 bond, but must appear in a Davidson County court on June 25.