An Australian woman faces the prospect of spending the next 21-years in a U.S. jail after being found guilty of drunkenly assaulting a flight attendant on United Airlines flight UA99 from Melbourne to Los Angeles International Airport on 21st January 2019. 24-year old Adau Akui Atem Mornyang of Victoria, Australia had to be restrained by two Federal Air Marshalls after she shouted obscenities and threats at passengers and crew.
The incident unfolded several hours into the Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated United Airlines flight from Melbourne Tullamarine International Airport (MEL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). According to court documents, flight attendants decided to stop serving the apparently intoxicated Mornyang several hours into the flight after she had downed 5-6 small of bottles of wine and started making a nuisance of herself.
Despite being cut off from alcoholic drinks, things started to escalate around nine hours into the approximately 14-hour flight when Mornyang started talking to herself and then began “screaming profanities, and waving her arms around in her seat.” When flight attendants tried to intervene, Mornyang first accused them of racism before continuing to shout obscenities at both crew and passengers.
When the flight attendants went to get help, Mornyang found her way to the rear galley where she continued to scream and swear. Attempts at getting her to return to her seat saw Mornyang start to strip off, throwing her socks at other passengers, leaning into peoples faces and screaming, and flailing her arms about.
Things, though, escalated when Mornyang slapped one of the flight attendants across the cheek. At this point, the flight attendants restrained her and two Federal Air Marshalls intervened, helping to restrain and handcuff the violent Mornyang in the rear galley.
One of the air marshalls described Mornyang as the worst disruptive passenger he had encountered in the 10-years of service with the agency. At one point, Mornyang managed to wriggle free and was accused of kicking one of the marshalls in the chest. They remained supervising the erratic behaving Mornyang for the rest of the flight
A jury unanimously recently found Mornyang guilty of Federal charges of interference with a flight crew member and assault by beating. Mornyang is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24 by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.
A friend of Mornyang has since made unsubstantiated claims that Mornyang was sexually assaulted by an FBI agent during the flight, claiming the whole case is a “set up”. She claims Mornyang is a previous survivor of violent sexual assault and was only trying to protect herself when men assaulted her onboard the flight.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.