A woman from Philadelphia faced charges after allegedly exposing herself on a Frontier flight from Florida when she claimed she urgently needed to use the restroom, according to a statement by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). The news about the woman's arrest comes more than two months after the incident.
According to the DoJ report, the 60-year-old passenger, Dulce Huertas, was arrested and charged through a criminal complaint "with interference with flight crew members and attendants, simple assault, and indecent exposure on a Frontier Airlines flight from Orlando, Florida, to Philadelphia."
If found guilty, the passenger in question could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 21 years and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and be subject to a fine of $355,000. In the statement, DoJ said:
"The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Air Marshal Service, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration. The Philadelphia Police Department has also provided assistance. An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."
The incident background
The incident involving the woman, who allegedly threatened to urinate and exposed herself, took place on November 20, 2023, on the Frontier Airlines flight between Florida (MCO) and Philadelphia (PHL).
The incident erupted as the aircraft neared the airport. Huertas stood up and announced, "I have to pee," according to a report by Business Insider. Subsequently, she erupted into a tirade of yelling and cursing directed at a flight attendant who instructed her to remain seated.
However, once the seatbelt sign was turned off, Huertas reached her limit. "Sorry, everybody," she said as she lowered her pants and underwear, adopting a squatting position, according to video footage shared by the local media outlet Click Orlando. Huertas refrained from actually urinating, but she persisted in her confrontations with other passengers.
This is not the first time that an incident of a similar nature has occurred across airlines in the US. Last spring, a passenger was arrested aboard an American Airlines flight for allegedly urinating on another passenger.
The incident unfolded aboard American Airlines Flight 292, en route from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in April 2023. During the course of the 15-hour flight, a dispute erupted between two passengers, escalating to the point where one individual allegedly resorted to urinating on the other as a means of asserting dominance and resolving the conflict.
Disruptive and unruly behavior continues to be a prevalent issue within the airline industry, particularly in the United States during the post-COVID era. According to the US FAA data, the regulator received 2,075 reports of unruly passengers in 2023. Meanwhile, as of February 4, 2024, the FAA has received 129 unruly passenger cases.
This article originally appeared on Simply Flying.
Photo: Andrew Mauro/ Shutterstock.