Woman Punches JetBlue Flight Attendant In The Face For Not Letting Her Smoke

Once again we remind you not to drink too much at the airport before getting on your flight. We know airports are boring and sad and they make you want to kill the pain with copious amounts of gin. Don’t do it — or you could end up punching a JetBlue flight attendant in the face.

Meet Christina Elizabeth Szele of Woodside, NY. She was charged with assault and interference with flight attendants after she caused such a disturbance that her flight was diverted to Colorado. According to an FBI agent who witness the event, Szele yelled “obscenities and racial epithets” when a flight attendant tried to keep her from smoking, prompting the flight attendants to restrain her in plastic cuffs… Szele then broke through the cuffs, and commenced punching.

Szele had been drinking and doesn’t remember any of it, says the AP.

Woman accused of punching JetBlue flight attendant [Examiner]
(Photo: So Cal Metro )

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  1. Plastic cuffs have a breaking strength of like 200lbs. Given their small surface area, you would break the skin way before you reached that. Unless you have the high end models, you need a cutter to open them(high end models actually use a standard handcuff key). I don’t think they put them on right, not that she broke them.

    If they serve you drinks, they should let you smoke.

  2. What the… People need to calm DOWN.

  3. BigPapaCherry says:

    “Plastic cuffs”? Like Zip ties? How did she break through those?

  4. MissTicklebritches says:

    You couldn’t pay me enough to be a flight attendant these days.

  5. Dakine says:

    The “easy path” here would have been to let her smoke it and pass out for the rest of the flight. But I’d like to know how she got on board in the first place. You can’t board a plane drunk. Not even a little bit. If she had enough to the point of blacking out (she said she doesn’t remember it), then she must have been pretty obviously drunk and staggering / slurring.

    She’ll probably be thrown in Guantanamo for being a “terrorist”.

  6. tripnman says:

    Does JetBlue charge $15 for the FIRST set of plasti-cuffs or is that one free?

  7. milknhoney55 says:

    You’d be amazed what people can do when the liquor is talking. Sounds like this woman turned into the incredible Hulk.

  8. Shannon says:

    She’s a she-man hurculesetta.

  9. ilovemom says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: And while you’re smoking and drinking, why not some gambling and prostitutes? Hell, why not give out needles? Oh wait didn’t Virgin already try this?

  10. ArgusRun says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: Difficult, but probably not impossible. The likeliest scenario is that the woman was wearing a watch and or bracelets which would keep the plastic from cutting into her skin as she struggled.

  11. Invalid_User_Name says:

    “Christina Elizabeth Szele” sounds like such a nice name, too. Good luck getting a job now, sweetheart, in the days of your name plastered all over the internets.

  12. kepler11 says:

    that passenger sounds like a woman of class and refinement.

  13. Not me. I’m a tame and happy drunk. Give me enough gin and tonic, and I’ll forget all about whatever it is that might make me upset at the airline.

  14. Bagels says:

    @milknhoney55: Could have been PCP

  15. MissTicklebritches says:

    @milknhoney55: did she call the flight attendant “sugartits”?

  16. Skiffer says:

    Awesome…

  17. Pasketti says:

    If they leave enough slack in the zip tie to allow you to rotate your wrist, you can twist the plastic until it breaks.

    Not that I’ve ever been in a position to try it, but that’s what came to mind when I wondered how to break it.

  18. Meg Marco says:
  19. Dakine says:

    @ilovemom:

    If the airlines really want to ease the fuel pain, they could charge extra for allowing passengers to smoke. $7 per drink, $2 per smoke, $15 for an ashtray, $4 for matches. And they could profit more off the non-smokers too. $15 for an oxygen mask so you wouldn’t have to breathe the evil 2nd hand smoke. I know I’d pay up to $20 for a pair of earplugs to block out the screaming whining children. Or alternatively, I’ be willing to fork over $20 for some sedatives. (to accomplish the same thing)

  20. RChris173 says:

    plastic cuffs?

    I think there is a grammar issue here: “According to an FBI agent who witness the event,” should be:

    “According to an FBI agent who witnessed the event,”

    Parallelism…

  21. laserjobs says:

    I AM THE LIQUOR!!!

  22. Tightlines says:

    @MissTicklebritches: I think she said, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c***.” Then commenced punching.

    And of course, she remembers nothing. Nothing!

  23. balthisar says:

    Dang, these “blame the consumer” sentiments just won’t stop!

  24. Hauler says:

    They should have let her smoke. How does that old saying go “The customer always throws rights”. Something like that.

  25. timmus says:

    If the airlines really want to ease the fuel pain, they could charge extra for allowing passengers to smoke.

    I think they should have a small smoking room, like a lavatory but with an aspirated air system and flame retardant walls. Just slide your credit card and it’s $10 to use the room for 10 minutes. On a trans-Pacific flight the room might generate hundreds in revenue, plus attract extra business from smokers. I’m not a smoker but I welcome anything that makes things smooth for everyone.

  26. Tightlines says:

    @timmus: Sure, and when they come back from the room and sit next to me, I get to gag on their smoke-stink.

  27. Hogan1 says:

    @timmus:

    They would make a killing off the smoking fees and maybe…just maybe even bring down the costs for us non smokers! (But alas we’ll probably get hit with a convenience fee for simply being on a plane that has such a room)

  28. Mayor McRib says:

    How would she have anything to light the cigarette? I didn’t think a weapon like fire would be allowed on the plane.

  29. induscreed says:

    @Invalid_User_Name:
    nice??? so what constitutes a bad name? lafawnda, laquisha, jamal, hadji….nice = waspy?

  30. orielbean says:

    Helluva drug…

  31. kepler11 says:

    @balthisar:
    that’s too funny!
    Be careful, people around here will start calling you a corporate shill…

  32. induscreed says:

    @Invalid_User_Name:

    nice??? so what constitutes a bad name? lafawnda, laquisha, jamal, hadji….nice = waspy?

  33. hi says:

    Probably slipped them off her wrists.@BigPapaCherry:

  34. Gokuhouse says:

    @tripnman: No kidding, you can bet she’ll get a bill from them for the cuffs!

    This situation just goes to show how high stress flying is these days. Too much for me.

    @Mayor McRib: I’m also surprised by the fact she got her cigarettes on the plane. They are pretty likely to be filled with highly explosive stuff and lighting them would kill everyone on the plane instantly.

  35. Dakine says:

    @Tightlines:

    “Smoke stink”? Would it help if I rip a few burrito farts your way for you to bask in instead?

  36. Wormfather says:

    I know it’s an unpopular view, but I blame the consumer here.

  37. Lambasted says:

    I thought nothing could make me feel sorry for the evil airlines…and I was right.

    Not that the attendant deserved to get hit. But pissed off people and alcohol never mix well. If airports and airlines are going to serve alcohol, they should expect the drunken consequences. Bars expect it–they have bouncers. Sporting events expect it–they have security. Even weddings expect it, as everyone knows Aunt Gertrude is going to have one too many from the open bar and will end up dancing on top of a table at some point.

    These days airlines are going out of their way to crap on passengers to make their lives as emotionally and financially miserable as they possibly can: Taking soap out of bathrooms. No food. Charge for water. Charge for picking an assigned seat, which will likely be covered in urine. Charge for checked bags. Deny almost everything to carry-on. Hold you hostage delayed on the tarmac for 4 hours; if you get thirsty while you wait, that’ll be $2 for a sip of soda. If you complain, it’s FAA lockup time when you land. On and on, the evil goes.

    Airlines are behaving so dastardly that I almost think they are conducting some sort of secret government lab rat experiment to find out much psychological abuse humans can take before we crack. The results are in for Christina. Clearly not much abuse is required for her to lose her mind.

  38. PinkBox says:

    I’m surprised so many here would be ok with someone smoking on a plane. Small contained area + smoking = NO!, in my book.

    Plus, you know… the burning something + being drunk thing.

  39. NoWin says:

    @Steaming Pile: Daddy!

  40. eirrom says:

    When you gotta smoke…you gotta smoke. I can’t believe this doesn’t happen more on longer flights.

  41. @timmus: Then some toad would sue the airlines when they came down with lung cancer. The legal department where I work told the company to remove all the ashtrays around the building because just having ashtrays could be perceived as helping someone smoke and that leaves you wide open for a lawsuit.

  42. @Tightlines: …Then commenced punching… while making jokes about bomb bomb bomb – bombing Iran.

    And said “you cant do it my friend, you cant do it” before snapping off those plastic cuffs.

  43. luz says:

    Some bars in LA charge for an ashtray, pay the maximum fine every month and still make a killing.

  44. Juggernaut says:

    Good for Christina! Who gave flight attendants the right to restrain/handcuff passenegers?

  45. AnderBobo says:

    Even if they were to allow smoking on the plane, how would they ever regulate the actual lighting of the cigarette?!

  46. allstarecho says:

    Who doesn’t want to punch a JetBlue flight attendant in the face?

  47. Dakine says:

    @luz:

    Here in Hawaii they’re trying to repeal the ridiculous smoking ban because they’re losing big time tourism from Japan. The Japanese love to smoke.

  48. Asvetic says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: @BigPapaCherry: Read a different article that said she wriggled free, slid her hands out of the cuffs (probably weren’t pulled tight enough).

  49. Dakine says:

    @AnderBobo:

    “Even if they were to allow smoking on the plane, how would they ever regulate the actual lighting of the cigarette?!”

    It used to be a no brainer before Bic lighters became weapons of mass destruction.

  50. Edge231 says:

    I don’t care if she was drunk…she needs to be punished severely.

    Kudos to the editors for showing how bad consumers can be…cuz many posters here think consumers are always right and companies are evil.

    As a small business owner, I know there are lying, cheating and bad consumers.

  51. valthun says:

    You can board a plane drunk, however its at the flight attendants discretion. If they feel that it would be best to get the person out of the airport and on the plane to pass out they will, however they will not serve any alcohol to that person. There are also times where someone drunk will get on board without the notice of the gate agent and its too late to get them off. Family members will sometimes sway the decision to allow the person on board, to not split up the group, and hopefully the family members can keep them in line.

  52. evslin says:

    @allstarecho: Anybody who doesn’t want assault charges filed against them?

  53. ImCrying says:

    I wish airlines charged $1,000 per ticket just to keep out the riff-raff.

  54. Dakine says:

    Doesn’t really matter much anyway. In a couple more years flying will only be available to the super wealthy and diplomats. All commercial airlines will be extinct.

  55. SacraBos says:

    @allstarecho: Brings a whole new meaning to “bring your attendant back to her full upright position for landing”.

  56. Burgandy says:

    So I’m not seeing the part where the other passengers who didn’t want her smoking got in a few cheap shots of their own on old Christina. I am so disapointed, she shoulda flown Southwest. Its like Jerry Springer in the air, bitch would have eaten many knuckles that day. :)

  57. y2julio says:

    @Lambasted: Ever heard of the term “Drink Responsibly”?? What makes you think you should get pissed drunk when you are flying, if you are at a party, thats one thing, but while flying? But noooooo the consumer can never be wrong.

  58. Preppy6917 says:

    @Juggernaut:
    Umm….the FAA did.

    @Dakine:
    A lot of my friends don’t show any signs of being drunk until they “cross over”, and then it’s downhill. Also, why should the other 100+ passengers be uncomfortable to appease one person on a non-smoking flight?

    @Gokuhouse:
    I’ve never heard of someone’s cigarettes being confiscated by TSA. Even if they were contraband, that’s an issue between TSA and the passenger, not JetBlue.

    Lastly, I find it pretty tough to get drunk on a plane. She was probably well on her way when she boarded, and just avoided any contact with JetBlue employees. It’s not difficult to hand your ticket to a gate agent and board a flight pretty tipsy. God knows I’ve done it a number of times.

  59. Dakine says:

    @ImCrying:
    “I wish airlines charged $1,000 per ticket just to keep out the riff-raff.”

    I wish children were forbidden from flying at all. They’re worse than cig smoke, B.O., obnoxious talkers, know-it-all tourists, and seat kickers combined. The incessant whining makes me homicidal. And I would pay an extra $1000 just to make absolutely sure none of the little demons were on board.

  60. Dakine says:

    @Preppy6917:
    “Also, why should the other 100+ passengers be uncomfortable to appease one person on a non-smoking flight?”

    How do you know they are non-smokers? You could very well be the only non-smoker on the flight, but you’d never know because of the feel-good smoking ban.

  61. Preppy6917 says:

    @Dakine:
    I never said they were all non-smokers, but JetBlue states on it’s website right here that Federal law bans smoking on all domestic flights 6 hours or less.

    I would be all for a 21+ airline though…and I’m only 27! Keep the kids on Southwest….

  62. Jubilance22 says:

    @Dakine: ITA. The first company to create a child-free airline will get all of my business regardless of cost. I HATE children on airplanes, and I REALLY HATE the idiot parents who let their kid scream and bother other passengers. Control your kid or throw them in the backseat of a car and drive them to Grandma’s!

  63. @Lambasted: If airports and airlines are going to serve alcohol, they should expect the drunken consequences.

    So, people are responsible for drinking themselves into a stupor, the AIRPORT is?

  64. Comment got ate:

    @Preppy6917: The FLIGHT is designated non-smoking, not the people. If the regulation states you can’t smoke, you can’t smoke. Period.

  65. wgrune says:

    @Tightlines:

    As a non-smoker I would take smoke stink over 70-year-old-woman-doused-in-some-horrible-brown-perfume stink any day.

  66. Dakine says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee:

    They can also keep you on a grounded plane on the tarmac for 12 hours with no restroom, water or food, but that ain’t right either.

  67. CrazyNyceDave says:

    /Szele yelled “obscenities and racial epithets”/

    Quotes you NEVER want to see your name next to in print.

  68. sean77 says:

    bic lighters are allowed on planes now. They reversed the ban on lighters and matches almost a year ago.

  69. Solo says:

    @Steaming Pile: I’m totally with you. I suffer the full depressant effect of alcohol. When I drink, I’m mellow, quiet, happy and sleepy.

    I’ve heard it’s difficult to board a plane when drunk, but apparently it’s not impossible. Personally, I hope the flight attendant punched back.

    My drug of choice though, when flying, is valium. Same effect, none of the smell, and no hangover.

  70. azntg says:

    Hmm, that lady is from my neighborhood. I guess we can have a new claim to fame: “For your own safety, please do not mess with the Woodsiders when they’re drunk.”

    So, the FBI agent just sat/stood by and watched? Let the flight attendants handle everything? Wow, what a load of relief! It’s very reassuring to know that if there ever is another irate passenger on our planes, there will be a convenient FBI agent witness. There’ll also be an FBI agent witness who conveniently stood by and watched two irate men storming into the cockpit too? Oh, let the flight attendants handle them!

  71. P_Smith says:

    It makes me glad about what happened on my last flight. I got stuck next to a moron whose clothes stunk of cigarettes and sniffled like a five year old child despite being ten times that age.

    Luckily the FA was willing to move me to a different seat. I had never sat next to or interracted with muslims before, but at least I got sit to someone with better personal habits, even if it meant I couldn’t have a drink during the flight.

  72. RodAox says:

    Vodka baby, Vodka….. just make sure you get drunk after the security check point and not before it, the latter gives you problems when you are trying to hold up your pants while trying to put on your shoes hopping on one feet because the fat gentleman behind you is trying to get his 2 laptops through the xray.

  73. bigusfickes says:

    SNL needs to make a digital short about this. “Punched before flying”

  74. Rock79 says:

    @timmus: Hell yeah. I’d smoke a lot more than cigarettes in there if that room were to exist. Hotbox FTW ;)

  75. Caslonbold says:

    “An FBI agent witnessed the event”

    I wonder if he was just flying somewhere or working for Homeland Security. Why would he let the flight attendants handcuff her if he was with law enforcement? Did he just sit by and watch all this or step up and help?

    Re: kids on flights – ANY airlines that bans kids gets my business. I once walked off a flight where a 4 year old was going to sit on mom’s lap for a six hour flight. I told the airlines that 4 people were sitting in 3 seats and that either they get the kid her own seat or let me off, they comped my ticket, paid my hotel and meals and I left the next day. This was 5 years ago, I doubt if they would do that now.

    I bring 10 pairs of earplugs with me on all flights and pass them out to the poor people sitting next to the screaming child. Children are nasty to fly with.

  76. ninabi says:

    Were the other passengers charged $5.00 for the in-flight entertainment?

  77. DaisyGatsby says:

    @Jubilance22:

    Screw that…throw them in the TRUNK. Takes care of all the “Are we there yet?” bullshit.

  78. Landru says:

    @Lambasted: I’m with you. What do they expect after treating everyone the way they do? When is too much abuse too much?

  79. floyderdc says:

    Amen! Anytime I see someone with their precious little snowflakes I just want to scream. I would pay a surchage for now kids

  80. Jamfish says:

    …says the people who don’t have children. Egads.

    Look, I’m flying soon, taking the kids, and the wife and I bring along a sufficient number of distractions and snacks for them. They haven’t had fits or issues before and I don’t anticipate any this time either.

    I think the criers are typically those around 1 year or younger or, possibly, because mom/dad didn’t make very good provisions for the trip. And then there are those that simply don’t discipline their children in any way. For those I can definitely share in your dislike.

    And I dislike the racket at 30k feet, as well, but what are you going to do? Stew about it and make the parents feel guilty about something they may not have control over? Believe me, as a parent, there’s nothing I like better on a trip (by plane, train, or automobile) than s-i-l-e-n-c-e. And I do what can/must not only for other passengers, but also myself.

  81. TamiBB says:

    @ImCrying: “I wish airlines charged $1,000 per ticket just to keep out the riff-raff.”

    So only people who can’t afford $1000 for a plane ticket are “riff-raff”? Because, obviously, people with lots of disposable income never do anything wrong. Never.

  82. kaptainkk says:

    @Jubilance22:
    @Dakine:

    You don’t hate kids on airplanes, you hate kids. Did you come out of the womb as an adult. Were you never a kid? Did your parents never take you anywhere until you were 18?! Jesus Fuckin’ Christ!

  83. @P_Smith:

    You couldn’t drink Alcohol because you sat next to a Muslim? That’s weird. Muslims aren’t supposed to drink alcohol or sell/transport it, but there is no reason for you not to be able to drink alcohol while sitting next to one. Unless you were requested not to.

    My cousin kind of drugs his kids on planes, he will give them a sip or two of cough syrup, which will put them to sleep for a few hours

  84. DallasPath says:

    @floyderdc:

    My 2 precious little snowflakes are extremely well trained as to plane etiquette. I come armed with Nintendo DS’s, portable DVD players with a wide selection of movies, a laptop, books to read, coloring books, snacks, drinks bought after the security checkpoint, and benadryl. My kids fly 8 to 10 times a year and are better versed at getting through the airport and behaving on a plane than many adults. Every flight they have been on, we have people compliment them on their behavior.

    Blame the parents, not the kids. Many kids are acting out in reaction to an entirely new environment. Many have no discipline in their lives to begin with. It is the job of the parent to PARENT, which means educating and discipling your children. As for crying babies, I hate them too. I used to keep my kids awake prior to flights. I would in no way allow them to take a nap, even when it was their naptime. On early morning flights, I would wake them up extra early. I also kept them a little hungry, not starving, but hungry, so that I would get on the plane, sit down, whip out a bottle and BAM! sleeping baby for the entire flight.

  85. Julia9999999 says:

    Has this woman EVER flown? Is she so out of touch that she doesn’t know that smoking on airplanes has been banned for years? the flight attendant should have punched HER. What a jackass.

  86. GothGirl says:

    I think smoking is the LEAST of this woman’s problems… lol

  87. dohtem says:

    This woman must be fun at parties!

    As for the kids on a plane thing, I am with those that will pay a premium for a flights with no kids on board. My last trip I had a 2 year old constantly kicking me on a 5 hour flight. All her mom could do was apologize over and over. Good thing I was tired from a 7 hour layover and full of rum and coke. I slept the entire trip, woke up with 10 mins to go and the kid was still kicking me.

  88. FightinPacifist says:

    @Caslonbold:

    Actually there was no FBI agent on the flight. He just wrote the affidavit. The Consumerist was mistaken. TheSmokingGun has the affidavit and a mug shot taken of the charming Christina from last year following a disorderly conduct bust in California. So basically she just travels the country spreading sunshine.

  89. Pithlit says:

    @DallasPath: Kids are different, though. I had someone give me similar advice to what you did before my first flight with the kid. He screamed his head off the entire time. Nothing I did mattered. I wished I’d read more internet message boards back then. I felt so bad for the other passengers. I was mortified. I wouldn’t feel a bit bad about it nowadays after reading all the shitty comments about kids being demons, and awful parents not doing their jobs.

    After that trips went better, because I did the opposite after that, and things went pretty smoothly. But, if I were traveling with small kids today, I wouldn’t even worry if I were bothering anyone else, because chances are they bitched about it on the internet somewhere in an awful, hateful manner. So, fuck ‘em. I say to parents today to do your best and not even worry about the other passengers, because they can wear plugs or get bent. That’s what internet asshatery has done for me.

  90. Meathamper says:

    Plastic cuffs are crazy strong, and she just broke through it? She should be given the death penalty.

  91. Syd says:

    quite the looker:
    [www.jaunted.com]

  92. induscreed says:

    @Syd:
    claire forlani pulling a crack hoe….

  93. TwoScoopsRice says:

    Flying with kids can be a challenge, but I echo the points made by other posters. There is a lot parents can do to make the situation a non-issue. Our rule with traveling with our kids was that they were expected to behave. Once they were older than 5, they were expected to pack and be responsible for their own carry-on. Once they were each age 10, they were responsible for their (carry on size) suitcase — packing, wheeling, etc.

    I’d stack a well-behaved young traveler up against a self-centered cellphone yapper any day of the week (besides, they don’t spill over into your seat space). Speaking of yappers, I’m hoping that the rumblings about allowing cellie use in-flight has died a much-deserved death.

  94. Dr Juice says:

    I much prefer Ben Kingsley in “Sexy Beast”

  95. MisterE87 says:

    I don’t believe this story for a second. What probably happened was a situation similar to “The Forgotten”, where she did nothing wrong but the aliens made it look that way to set her up.

    Or, everyone else on the plane was drunk and she was the only sober one, and they fabricated everything.

    It had to be! There’s no way a woman with such a pretty name could ever be such a dimwit.

  96. P_Smith says:

    @hypochondriac: You couldn’t drink Alcohol because you sat next to a Muslim? That’s weird. Muslims aren’t supposed to drink alcohol or sell/transport it, but there is no reason for you not to be able to drink alcohol while sitting next to one. Unless you were requested not to.

    I never said that I couldn’t or wasn’t allowed. I chose not to.

    First, it was a daytime flight, and I only drink late in the evening. Second, going without a drink on a three hour flight is less of a hardship than going without meat for a meal, something I usually do if I’m eating with a vegetarian (as I said somewhere before on this site). Showing a little courtesy isn’t going to kill me.

    @Syd: quite the looker:

    She looks like nearly all 10+ year female smokers I’ve ever met: stringy hair, sallowed cheeks, yellowed skin, bad teeth and (probably) tobacco breath.

    Women like that wonder why I won’t date them, and when they ask and I tell them the reasons – politely – most freak out the same way that cow did. They act as if I had told them to jump in front of a train, which I am sorely tempted to do after the fact.