ATLANTA – A man who says he desperately needed to use an airplane bathroom after eating something bad in Honduras faces a federal charge after being accused of twisting a flight attendant's arm to get to the lavatory, the FBI said Wednesday.
Joao Correa, 43, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had a bathroom emergency 30 minutes into a March 28 Delta Air Lines flight from Honduras to Atlanta, but found the single coach aisle on the Boeing 737 blocked by a beverage cart. He said he asked if he could use the lavatory in business class, but was told no.
Transportation Security Administration policy requires passengers on international flights to use the restroom in their seating class.
When the cart wasn't moved after a few minutes, Correa said, he ran for the business class lavatory. He said the flight attendant put up her arm to block him, and he grabbed it to keep his balance.
A Delta flight attendant said Correa grabbed her right arm, pulled it down and twisted it, according to authorities.
The man was arrested after the plane landed in Atlanta after a three-hour flight and Correa was held for two days in jail, authorities said. He was charged with interference with a flight crew, said Gregory Jones, head of the FBI in Atlanta, and released on bond after appearing before a U.S. magistrate.
"I'm devastated," the Concord, Ohio, man told the paper. "I've never had any event with the police in my life."
Correa could not be reached Wednesday by The Associated Press. A message was left on his home telephone.
Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott released a statement saying flight crews "do everything within the limits of the law to ensure the safety and security of our passengers."