A British businessman who was accused of becoming unruly and aggressive on an American Airlines flight from Barbados to Miami because only a vegetarian meal choice was left in First Class has swerved a potential 20-year prison sentence after he reached a deal with prosecutors.
Under the terms of the deal, prosecutors had a charge of interference with flight crew dismissed in return for Robert Croizat’s guilty plea for a single count of simple assault.
The retired hedge fund executive who now lives in Barbados but was traveling to Miami to visit his son had faced the threat of a lengthy prison sentence, but U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz sentenced Croizat to time served at the end of last week.
Croizat was, however, fined the maximum permitted amount of $5,000 for simple assault, along with a $10 assessment fee.
Details of Croizat’s wild behavior aboard American Airlines flight AAAA1192 from Bridgetown to Miami on March 8 only came to light after an affidavit was filed in federal court last week detailing his alleged disruptive and violent conduct towards the flight attendants.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Croizat agrees that if the case had gone to trial that prosecutors would have proved beyond reasonable doubt that he “confronted a male flight attendant because he believed (the flight attendant) had been rude to him and to voice his displeasure that only vegetarian meal options were available in the First Class cabin”.
The plea agreement continues: “Croizat refused to obey the flight crew’s commands and became aggressive. Croizat loudly ordered the flight crew members to ‘get the Captain out here’.”
“During the course of the heated exchange, Croizat assaulted (a flight attendant).”
The FBI affidavit originally alleged that Croizat called one of the crew members a “sh**ty flight attendant” because of the way he had described the meal choice. He had then allegedly demanded that Captain leave the cockpit to speak to him before pushing a flight attendant twice,
At one point, Croizat allegedly pushed and briefly pinned a flight attendant against the cockpit door.
Croizat allegedly refused to return to his seat but was eventually manhandled by another passenger into his seat. Flight attendants blockaded the front galley with a meal cart for the rest of the flight before the plane landed in Miami, and Croizat was taken into custody.
The Attorney’s acting on behalf of Croizat had asked the court to let him return to Barbados pending trial because the cost of renting Airbnb’s in Miami was causing Croizat financial hardship. The request was dismissed by the court.
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.