Welcome to the "no-fly" list. A woman has been sentenced by a federal judge for assaulting 2 passengers and opening an emergency exit on a Buffalo flight. The Rochester woman caused quite a bit of commotion on a flight leaving out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport last year.


Is The 'No Fly List' A Real Thing?

Yes, there is a 'no fly' list. It is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,

The No Fly List is a small subset of the U.S. government Terrorist Screening Database (also known as the terrorist watchlist) that contains the identity information of known or suspected terrorists. This database is maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center.

An unruly passenger doesn't necessarily qualify as a terrorist, even if they've terrorized the crew and other passengers. Airlines do maintain their own 'no fly' lists, however, they don't share them with other airlines. According to The Washington Post,

Airlines put passengers on their own no-fly lists — and have been doing so as the number of violent acts on planes has increased.

Rochester Woman Sentenced For Airplane Assault In Buffalo

The passenger, 24-year-old Cynthia McKnight, was traveling on an American Airlines flight that was departing out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on April 19, 2022. The kerfuffle began when McKnight walked to the front of the plane, which was getting ready to depart. She got into a verbal altercation with another traveler. She also spat on a passenger and pushed a flight attendant.

Niagara Falls Transit Authority Chief of Police Brian Patterson said,

The plane was preparing to actually take off and the pilot was forced to return based on this passenger’s unruly behavior. There was an attempt to calm her down and that attempt failed, at which point she then opened the emergency exit door.

The plane returned to the gate. That's when McKnight opened the emergency exit on the plane, which deployed the emergency slide. She then exited the plane. She spat on the officers who apprehended her and she was restrained.

Photo by Rudy Dong on Unsplash
Photo by Rudy Dong on Unsplash

McKnight was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to time served and three years of probation.

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While the busiest of the Empire State's airports are located in the Metropolitan New York area of "Downstate," our "Upstate" region has some pretty significant airports as well. I am sure you can all guess what are the Number 1, 2, 3 and maybe even the #4 busiest airports in Upstate. But the list gets very interesting by the time you get to Number 8, 9, and 10!

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