Cynthia McKnight, a 24-year-old from Rochester, New York, has been sentenced to time served and three years’ probation following her conviction for a simple assault on an American Airlines flight. The incident occurred in April 2022 on a flight from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago.
According to prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York, McKnight engaged in a heated argument with another passenger at the front of the plane after the aircraft’s doors were closed and the pilots were preparing for departure. The situation escalated when McKnight spat on the other passenger, prompting the flight to return to the gate.
In a further disturbance, McKnight attempted to exit the moving aircraft by pushing a flight attendant who had prevented her from opening the door. Although video footage of the incident quickly spread on social media, showing McKnight being removed from the flight, she managed to open the door and deploy the emergency slide, making her exit from the aircraft.
Spencer Brown, an offensive tackle for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, was onboard the plane during the incident and shared his account on Twitter. He described the disruptive events, expressing that the flight was ruined and memorable for all the wrong reasons.
McKnight has been sentenced to time served for her actions and will be placed on three years’ probation. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining calm and respectful behavior during air travel, emphasizing the potential consequences of disruptive actions onboard flights.