A 70-year-old social worker who told FBI investigators that he rarely, if ever, uses curse words because he does clinical work with children has pleaded guilty to telling a Delta Air Lines flight attendant to “f**k off” and jabbing her in the ribs so hard that she nearly fell over in an alleged dispute over a broken tray table.
During the altercation, Denis McCarville told the flight attendant: “I’m a Gold Medallion; I can do what I want. Fuck You,” after she reprimanded him for hitting her in the side.
When other passengers stepped up to defend the flight attendant, McCarville also allegedly told them to “shut the f**k up” and accused them of being “jerks”.
McCarville now faces the threat of 20 years imprisonment, plus a $250,000 fine after he reached a plea deal with prosecutors in Alaska, which saw him enter a guilty plea during a hearing on Friday.
The incident unfolded during a Delta Air flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage on January 29 when the first beverage service of the five-hour flight had just got underway.
The victim told prosecutors that she went to serve McCarville, who was sat in a bulkhead seat in row 12, but he complained that his tray table wouldn’t come out of the armrest.
The flight attendant also tried to get the tray table out but without success and offered McCarville compensation in the form of Delta’s SkyMiles currency. McCarville allegedly refused the gesture and instead demanded the flight attendant reimburse the value of the flights – something she wasn’t authorized or able to do.
She did, however, suggest McCarville use the tray table in the seat beside him, which wasn’t occupied, although he also refused this offer.
Unable to help McCarville any further, the flight attendant turned to serve the passenger sat on the opposite side of the aisle but then felt a jab in her side which nearly knocked her into another passenger.
When she told McCarville to keep his hands to himself, he shouted, “f**k you” at the flight attendant.
Following standard de-escalation protocol, the flight attendant switched positions with another crew member so that she wouldn’t have any further dealings with McCarville but on occasion, she had to walk past him in the aisle.
Whenever she did walk past him, the flight attendant claims he would stick out his leg in the aisle as if he was trying to trip her up.
McCarville was detained on arrival in Anchorage but he initially told investigators that he thought he was being confused with someone else and that law enforcement had met the aircraft because of his work as a social worker.
In his first police interview, McCarville said he only tapped the flight attendant and immediately apologized to her when she reprimanded him. He also denied swearing at her or other passengers.
Despite the hefty maximum sentence for interference with flight crew, McCarville is likely to receive a much lighter sentence and could even avoid jail altogether.
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.
I have lost all faith in humanity.
And there you have it. Airlines have created these entitled monsters who believe their ‘status’ allows them to act any way they please up to and including abusing staff and even fellow passengers. Oh, and he’s Delta ‘Gold’ Medallion? LOL! Pffft!
And there you have it, folks. The airlines created these entitled monsters who believe their ‘status’ grants them the right to not only abuse staff, but other travelers as well.