United Airlines Duct Taped Unruly Passenger To Her Seat

A United Airlines crew was apparently forced to use duct tape to restrain an unruly passenger after the normal ankle cuffs kept slipping off. The passenger, who was apparently quite intoxicated after having several drinks at the airport (she also brought alcohol onto the plane), is accused of slapping a flight attendant on the behind, and grabbing and pulling the hair of a passenger whom she’d fallen on.

Castillo, 45, struck a flight attendant on the buttocks with the back of her hand during Saturday’s flight, FBI Special Agent Peter Carricato said in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. She also stood and fell onto the head of a blind passenger and later started pulling the person’s hair, the complaint stated.

Ankle cuffs kept slipping off Castillo, so the flight crew and two passengers were forced to use duct tape to keep her in her seat, the complaint states.

She calmed as the pilot diverted the flight to Charlotte-Douglass International Airport, but became disruptive again when authorities boarded the plane to remove her, authorities said.

Watch how much you drink at the airport, people.

FBI: Airline passenger restrained with duct tape [AP]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. 310Drew says:

    what happened to the customer is always right ???

    • shadowsurfr1 says:

      @310Drew: The customer isn’t always right: [notalwaysright.com]

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @310Drew: When a customer is a danger to themselves or others, they are no longer right. The flight attendants took control of the situation and “forced” compliance instead of just landing the plane and inconveniencing all the other passengers

      Bravo for quick thinking flight attendants!

    • deleteboy says:

      @310Drew: Right PISSED, in this case, eh guv’nor?

    • Difdi says:


      what happened to the customer is always right ???

      That’s a little bit of business advice that was never meant for a customer to hear. The true meaning of it is to run your business to accommodate the customer wherever possible and feasible — Don’t enact policies whose sole purpose is to inhibit and inconvenience a customer.

      It breaks down more than a bit when customers get ahold of it and misinterpret it literally to mean they are entitled to all sorts of things the business does not and can not provide. Expect a business to obey the laws, not engage and deceptive practices and have a professional and helpful CS department? That’s all part of the idea of “The customer is always right”.

      But there are customers out there who truly expect that no matter how silly, absurd, insane, or argumentative they become, they should be treated as royalty by the peons in the business. I’ve read stories about customers who were truly shocked when a business charged them for services rendered (they honestly expected a business to give them all the goods and services they wanted for free). I’ve read stories about customers who scream profanities and assault clerks because they weren’t moved instantly to the head of a line at checkout (skipping ahead of half a dozen customers who are equally always right, and far better behaved). I’ve read stories about customers who demand services a business does not actually provide (demanding refunds on their cellphone plans from video game stores that are next door to the cellphone store, on the grounds that everybody in the mall is in it together). These customers are not right, in the head or in any other way.

  2. SkokieGuy says:

    Fortunately, United keeps duct tape on board for those last-minute repair jobs. Holding on the engines, for instance.

    • Froggmann says:

      @SkokieGuy: At least I’m not the only one that found it strangely alarming that they had duct tape on the flight.

    • IDesigner loves himself some car says:

      @SkokieGuy: As scary/sad as it sounds in the case of a true emergency duct tape could be lifesaver for repairing something…

    • EyeHeartPie says:

      @SkokieGuy: Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

      Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      You mean like this?

      • Recession says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: Hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not duct tape. It’s speed tape, which is aircraft tested aluminum-sided sticky tape.

        Maintenance here gave me a roll of it a while back. I used it to wrap presents for Christmas. Best. joke. ever.

    • Difdi says:

      @SkokieGuy: I travel with a small roll of duct tape in my carry-on. It’s wonderful stuff in case my bags get damaged in transit; Sure, there’s insurance claims and all, but those don’t help when your bag is spilling stuff into the concourse right now. If a fellow passenger was that out of control and the aircrew’s standard means of restraint were not working, you bet I’d offer them my emergency stash of tape.

  3. Bladefist says:

    Should have just given her another shot. Sounds like one more and she would have passed out

  4. tande04 says:

    “Watch how much you drink at the airport, people.”


    Much cheaper to drink off airport and show up there drunk as well.

    TSA loves it.

    • johnmc says:

      @tande04: TSA probably won’t even see you – the ticket counter agents will likely deny you boarding and then you’ll be dealing with the local law enforcement if you raise a stink. I don’t have faith in anyone drunk enough to matter’s abilities to use online check-in so they will most likely have to deal with someone at the ticket counter.

  5. ohenry says:

    I’m surprised that they didn’t add a new ticket fee for them later. “Duct Tape Fee” or “Unusual Restraint Fee” or something like that.

    UA could make a killing off of adding a duct tape fee for their tickets.

  6. Landru says:

    I love duct tape. I wonder if the TSA lets you bring your own?

    • silver-bolt says:

      @Landru: No. Rolls of duct tape get confiscated for this very reason. You can use it to hold people hostage.

      • Difdi says:

        @silver-bolt: Duct tape isn’t banned, but as people are learning if they don’t already know, the TSA often makes up it’s own rules on the spot. I’ve never had a problem traveling with duct tape.

        One thing occurs to me though; There’s about 14 different products that are collectively called “duct tape”, for a variety of applications (ranging from the cheap silver-gray plastic tape to some very sturdy stuff involving kevlar and aluminum strands). Could it be that the type TSA confiscates is the type that sets of metal detectors?

    • DeadWriter says:

      @Landru: The answer is yes. Duct tape is fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      I never fly without it. I have NEVER had a problem bringing it in my carryon. For this reason, as well as,the fact nothing is as versatile as duct tape for emergency repairs while traveling..

  7. Urgleglurk says:

    310Drew: The customers are right until they engage in federal crimes like assaulting other passengers and/or flight crewmembers and refusing to follow the directions of a flight crewmember.

    Then they are not only wrong, but they’re toast.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @Urgleglurk: “following the directions of a flight crew member” . . . good thing that’s not used as a catch-all for “pissed us off”


    • Difdi says:

      @Urgleglurk: It’s worth noting that obeying flight crew is not always possible. I once got on a Alaska Airlines flight, and my assigned seat had a broken latch in it. It reclined under it’s own weight, without the button being pushed.

      Sure enough, prior to takeoff, the flight crew ordered all seats to upright position. I couldn’t comply. I wanted to, but the seat being broken physically prevented me. Luckily for me, none of the crew noticed it.

      Then as the plane approached our destination and the crew was preparing to land, one of them noticed my reclined seat. “Sir, you need to return your seat to the upright position” in that faux-polite tone common to police, nurses and flight crew. She absolutely would not listen to a word I said. Over the course of the next eight minutes, three different stewardesses read me the riot act about federal law, and the consequences of disobeying them. Then a guy who looked strangely like a co-pilot showed up to add weight to their arguments, and I noticed a man with a military haircut, a nice dark suit, and a bulge in the armpit of his suit lurking in the background of the posse. Again I lucked out though; The air marshal actually listened to what I was saying, and suggested they test whether the seat was broken or not before arresting me for disobeying.

      After the air marshal determined it was indeed broken in the way I described, the swarm of irate people just evaporated, without a word of apology.

  8. jusooho says:

    It seems to me that serving alcohol on a plane is not worth the additional revenue. If I had a airline it would not be allowed.

    • Dawnrazor says:

      Perfect. I love the idea of a “sober” airline, and I bet it could actually be profitable. (I can only imagine how difficult it must be for recovering alcoholics to travel by air-booze is ubiquitous in airports and on planes.)

    • RedwoodFlyer says:


      Drunk people are what’s keeping your fares down….

      Continental nearly fully offsets their cost of meals in flight (they still serve meals..even in economy) with the sale of alcohol…

      • jusooho says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: That’s fine, and I know the margins are really good on those little bottles, but I don’t think the gains are worth the costs. Especially on trans-Pacific flights, there are too many times I have seen a bad sitruation made worse by someone who drinks too much.

    • Luckie says:

      @jusooho: I don’t think most people get shitfaced on flights. I personally only refrain from drinking while flying because its so expensive.

      • Difdi says:

        @Luckie: Low atmospheric pressure makes you get drunk faster. Most airliners are pressurized to the equivalent of 8000-10000 feet above sea level, as they cruise at two to three times that in real altitude. It’s enough of a difference that someone who could normally tolerate a given amount of alcohol and just get a nice warm buzz (making the flight just (pardon the pun) fly by), instead gets shitfaced. And some people who are pleasant with a warm buzz become very mean when shitfaced drunk.

  9. blackmage439 says:

    Worse: Bringing alcohol on-board the plane. (I can’t believe this is legal…)

    Worser: Physically abusing the flight crew and passengers.

    Worst: Causing thousands of dollars in lost fuel, flight diversions, changes in the flight schedules, and screwing up 50+ passengers’ days.

    Ms. Castillo, today’s worst. Person. In the woooooooorrrrld!

    • ShizaMinelli says:

      @blackmage439: Ooh…some people can hold their liquor and not act like jackasses :) They should be able to bring it on, but it should also be “confiscate-able” if they get wacky.

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @blackmage439: Most airlines don’t allow you to bring your own alcohol on the plane. I’m wondering if she purchased it after the security check and stashed it in her bag.

      How was this person even allowed on the plane anyway? You’re not supposed to be allowed on the plane drunk.

    • Tush says:

      @blackmage439: I’m fairly certain that people are doing worse things in the world, today.

    • valthun says:

      @blackmage439: While you can purchase alcohol at the various duty free shops. You can’t open them up on the plane. Its a similar deal with bringing a bottle into a bar. They don’t want you passing out liquor to others, because they are then held liable for the actions of others.

      Mostly they stop drunks from getting on if its too bad. But the gate agents just want to get rid of the drunk and put them on anyway.

    • dlab says:


      Fly much? EVERY airline that flies into an airport with a duty-free store will let you carry on a bag from that store. Even if it is filled with delicious rum. You’re just not technically allowed to open it.

      And come on, don’t tell me you’ve never seen a drunk passenger getting on a plane…

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Figures everyone would be blaming the customer!

  11. APFPilot says:

    I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the flight crew that duct taped her to the seat.

  12. bobloblawsblog says:

    sounds like better entertainment than they usually provide.

  13. Nighthawke says:

    Must have been generic cuffs, for they are not set up for small radii like ankles.

    Good ole duct tape, great for taping blown hoses, securing broken windows, taping your bratty sister to the wall if she gets out of hand…

  14. gatewaytoheaven says:

    Wait, so is duct-taping unruly passengers an additional fee or is it included as a complimentary service?

    I wonder if she was able to get any more drinks while taped. United needs all the drink fees it can get.

  15. tom2133 says:

    Some people would pay to be duct taped to a seat or get their hair pulled.


  16. xip says:

    “Watch how much you drink at the airport, people.”

    I think some people are just nuts… They can usually suppress it when they’re sober, but they can’t suppress it when they’re drunk.
    No matter how much I drink, I don’t get out of control like that. It sounds like this woman needs to watch how much she drinks anywhere, lest the monster gets loose.

  17. nicemarmot617 says:

    I despise United Airlines after having been forced to use them by the smallness of my local airport for the first 22 years of my life. This, however, is the best thing ever. I hope this becomes airline policy! Duct tape ’em to the seat, add a strip over the mouth…what unruly passenger, again?

  18. backbroken says:

    Yeah…children shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes!!!

    Oh, wrong discussion.

  19. ncc74656m says:

    I’m fine with people like this being restrained in any way, shape, and form necessary. Honestly, I think it would be a much better world if people weren’t allowed to get slobbering drunk on a plane, or even in the airport.

    A better solution would be to simply ban any drunk fliers from flying in the future. This would solve the problem really quick, since many people need to fly for work. They’d probably keep themselves in slightly better shape.

    • Dawnrazor says:

      It amazes me that there are not more public intoxication arrests at airports.

      I would actually like to eliminate all alcohol consumption in the terminal or on planes-it’s a safety issue. If an emergency occurs, it will be much more difficult (and require more time) to “rescue” a drunk passenger than a sober one-the time wasted by emergency personnel trying to gain cooperation from a belligerent drunk might mean the difference between life and death for someone else. Also in an emergency, passengers often find themselves in positions where they could be of great help to a fellow flier, but are worthless to anyone if they are intoxicated and may actually hinder the ability of others to escape injury or death.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @Dawnrazor: Then again, the same can be said for hysterical or people otherwise suffering from PTSD in an emergency, people who don’t want to move even if its the best thing to do. Should we ban the meek from flying as well?

        • Dawnrazor says:

          Actually, “hysterical” is no longer an acceptable clinical term, and has little to do with anxiety disorders such as PTSD. Individuals suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders, or a psychotic disorder could certainly present challenges in an emergency situation. The difference is, these folks are much more responsive to supportive verbal interventions (stuff that EMTs and Paramedics learn as part of their training) aimed at helping them calm down sufficiently to cooperate with and participate in their own rescue, and many would actually make efforts to help the emergency personnel with other passengers (mentally-ill individuals are often extremely empathic and eager to help others). All bets are off when dealing with an intoxicated individual, who may behave unpredictably and impulsively, and may not be able to cooperate even if they wanted to. Remember that individuals intoxicated on alcohol can end up being more dangerous to others than individuals similarly intoxicated on other substances (including many illicit drugs).

  20. sublicon says:

    One word: GOOD!

  21. johnnya2 says:

    Can we start duct taping all obnoxious kids as well?

  22. nullrout says:

    The way air travel works today it would most likely be more agreeable to fly drunk…unless you wake up in jail!

  23. erratapage says:

    I don’t understand how alcohol could make someone behave like this. It makes me giggle a little bit, and then I throw up and fall asleep.

  24. Voyou_Charmant says:

    Can we just have special flights for drunks and those who would like to fly with drunks? This lady sounds like a lot of fun. Certainly less annoying than kids.

  25. thaJack says:

    Don’t forget to mention the $15 fee that the passenger had to pay for the duct tape.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This is really hilarious and quite surprising.
    1- You are not allowed to board an airplane if you are a VIP- Visibly Intoxicated Person
    2- You aren’t allowed to take WATER let alone alcohol on board a plane. (I was forced to throw away prime rib and a red bull when I was boarding a plane in Miami)

    It seems to me that there are 4 people at fault:
    1- The Woman for being drunk.
    2- The person searching the woman’s luggage, who didn’t catch the bottle of alcohol
    3- The bartender who served her
    4- The attendant working the door who allowed her to board the plane.

  27. Dawnrazor says:

    I must say the worst encounters I’ve ever had with drunks have been at airports and on planes. What it is it about air travel that makes otherwise “decent”, “normal” people completely lose their minds and turn into obnoxious drunk douchebags the moment they set foot into an airport or plane?

    I could understand a drink or two if a person was fearful of air travel and needed something to “take the edge off” and relax for the flight, but many of the folks I have encountered could give the frat boys at S. Padre on Spring Break a run for their money! The level of their intoxication is just asinine, and I don’t understand why there are not more public intoxication arrests at airports (or at the very least, refusing such passengers admission to the plane).

    We already have to suffer idiotic/power hungry airline and security personnel, and the addition of obnoxious drunks to the mix is a guaranteed recipe for a miserable travelling experience. Thank God I don’t have to fly often.

    As much as I despise drunks (I don’t care what people drink, smoke, snort, or inject-just keep your stupidity out of my presence), taping the passenger to the seat probably did “cross the line” a bit. On the other hand, everyone on board was probably so sick of her antics she is lucky they did not just kick her out of the plane at altitude!

    • Winstonian says:

      @Dawnrazor: Something to remember – once you’re in the air, the cabin pressure is lowered to about the 8,000′ (2,700m) level – which acts for most people as about a 2.5x multiplier for the effects of alcohol. So someone that had a couple drinks at the airport to calm their nerves will have the effects of about 5 once they are in the air…

  28. Ben_Q2 says:

    I just paid for my parking for my plane. I said it before and I will say it again. Its cheaper, faster, better, ok so I do not get to set back all the time. Still I take off when I want, no TSA, and if I am not flying I can drink as I want. Lets not forget I can pull out a porn mag also.

  29. jwm1314 says:

    From the stress, dehydration, germs, and overall busy nature of flying, why would ANYONE drink before boarding a plane? And why would anyone drink more than one or two drinks on the plane itself?

  30. trk182 says:

    “A United Airlines crew was apparently forced to use duct tape to restrain an unruly passenger after the normal ankle cuffs kept slipping off.”

    WTF… how anorexic do you have to be for that to happen…or did she have nubs for feet?

  31. mythago says:

    I am outraged that United duct-taped a passenger to her seat. They should have used a staple gun.

  32. FrankenPC says:

    What is this? Number 5135 for possible uses of Duct Tape?

  33. snoop-blog says:

    “I’m tired of these motherf-in drunks, on this motherf-in plane!”

    Seriously though, I love a good drunkeness as much as the next guy but I can’t stand having to get up to use the restroom on a plane. Unless I’m in the aisle seat.

  34. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I’ve noticed that almost every report of unruly behavior on planes that requires the plane diverting, and/or the passenger being arrested is precipitated by alcohol. I think its high time planes and terminals went dry. There’s nobody in the world that can’t get to their destination without alcohol being in their system. It sure would cut down on all the incidents.

  35. stopNgoBeau says:

    From personal experience, I know that duct tape is not the way to go. It tears to easily just by moving around. The best thing to restrain someone with is plain clear packaging tape. That stuff rocks!

  36. scoopjones says:

    I’m sure serving alcohol on planes is profitable for the airlines, but I have to wonder if it’s really worth the trouble of unruly passengers, diverted flights and people getting sick. One guy on a Continental flight asked me to drink with him at the start of the flight – I declined – and the stewardess kept serving him more and more alcohol. Well, he passed out and ralphed on his tray table and my seat. They moved me and I later complained to the airline, but to no avail. I had no sympathy for the stewardess to had to handle the problem. I felt more sorry for the folks on the continuing flight to Mexico.

  37. bobcatred says:

    Duct tape wins again!

  38. fisherstudios says:

    lol… the ‘ankle cuffs kept slipping off’.

    sounds like they purchased absolutely useless restraints

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    NASA recommends duct tape for similar situations among astronauts.


  40. HClay says:

    I don’t believe it should be legal to serve alcohol to people on a plane, and I think that anyone suspected of being intoxicated enough to cause trouble should be given a breathalyzer test before boarding and turned away if they’re too drunk.

    I think, as a responsible person who doesn’t drink alcohol before or during a flight, and who is stuck in that tin can way up in the air with them, that my right to not be disrupted by an intoxicated person outweighs other peoples’ ‘right’ to have alcohol in their system while on a plane.

  41. joellevand says:

    I don’t believe I’m saying this, but…WAY TO GO UNITED.

  42. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Duct tape…is there anything you can’t do?

    As for the morality of it..the crew restrained a drunk and unruly passenger..good for them.

    Maybe if they had pushed her out of the plane I’d be upset, but if she had already earned the zip-tie restraints, she deserved the duct-tape.

  43. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    oh great, thanks for dumping her in my city

  44. jwissick says:

    Silence is golden.. Duct tape is silver.

  45. medusasbedhead says:

    You know, between this incident and Southwest having the balls to throw out that skanky cow and her ill-behaved spawn who refused to sit down and shut up during takeoff a few months ago, I’m slowly getting a bit of respect back for the airline industry.

    I might even book a flight on United again. Maybe.