Man Arrested For Doing Yoga, Threatening Crew On Flight Owes United Airlines $44,000

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

Remember the man who was arrested after he refused to stop doing yoga and got violent with the crew, forcing the pilot of a United Airlines flight to turn the plane around? For all of that, he’ll have to pay United more than $44,000.

The man, a Korean tourist who had been flying from Hawaii to Japan last March, was sentenced on Friday by a federal judge in Honolulu to time served, amounting to about 13 days, the Associated Press reports, and ordered him to pay $44,235 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in April to interfering with a flight crew and was allowed to return home to South Korea at that time.

He’ll be under court supervision for three years, which is the amount of time he has to pay what he owes, the Associated Press reports. He also might not be allowed back in the U.S., which he says is fine because he has no plans to travel here again.

Court records show that the man didn’t want to sit in his seat during the meal service on the March flight from Honolulu to Tokyo, so he decided to do yoga and meditate in the back of the plane. But authorities say he turned violent when he was asked to return to his seat, threatening the crew and other passengers, and shoving his wife. That’s when the pilot turned the plane around.

At the time, the man told authorities he hadn’t slept for 11 days.

The judge said she agrees with prosecutors that his actions constituted a violent felony.

“I think your client is getting off very easy” with the $44,235 restitution amount, considering the costs of turning the flight around and the passengers who had to go back to Honolulu, she said.

“I take this very seriously and I have a great deal of concern about this behavior,” she said.

He’ll be allowed to go back to South Korea, but will have to work with a probation officer beforehand to work out restitution payments.

“He didn’t say it but he does apologize for what happened,” his lawyer said. “This is a truly isolated incident.”

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Time served, $44K restitution for airplane yoga arrest [The Associated Press]