DOCUMENT: Drunk, Crime

Man Headed To Rehab Disrupts JetBlue Flight

Plane diverted after passenger threatens attendant

In-Flight Drinks

View Document

In-Flight Drink Demands

3/11 UPDATE: Video of in-flight disturbance added to bottom of story

MARCH 11--A JetBlue passenger who claimed to be a soldier readying for deployment to Afghanistan openly solicited fellow fliers to buy him drinks on a flight that subsequently had to be diverted when he got plastered and threatened the life of a female flight attendant, according to the FBI.

After Flight 1969 departed Boston for Fort Lauderdale last Thursday evening, passenger Orion Koshinsky, 23, stood up and announced, “I want to make sure everybody on the plane knows that I’m in the military and you can buy me drinks.” He also told the lead flight attendant, “I’m in the military, what can I get for free?”

However, Koshinsky has never been in the armed forces, according to federal prosecutors. In fact, he was headed to Florida to check into a drug and alcohol treatment center. His on-board ruse was simply a bid to score some free booze.

After downing three drinks, Koshinsky (pictured at right) became volatile and disruptive. As detailed in a U.S. District Court criminal complaint, he threw one passenger’s bag into the aisle and began cursing and speaking loudly. When flight attendant Jeannie Piel sought to unbuckle Koshinsky’s seat belt--in a bid to get him to go to the lavatory--he said, “Don’t touch me, I’ll kill you.”

Piel told an FBI agent that Koshinsky “went from argumentative to ‘complete aggression’ very quickly,” adding that his “unstable” behavior made her “very nervous” because she “wasn’t sure what he was capable of.” Flight attendants considered “cuffing” Koshinsky, but decided not to because “they felt it would further ‘set him off,’” reported FBI Agent William Logan.

Piel then consulted with the plane’s captain, and the pair determined that Koshinsky was a “Level Two” threat and that the flight should be diverted to Jacksonville, Florida.

A passenger who had been seated next to Koshinsky in row 18 told the FBI that he “smelled like alcohol” and “took out a cigarette and began playing with it” during the flight. The passenger, Leon Mandelbaum, also told an investigator that he heard Koshinsky tell a flight attendant, “I’m going to kill you.” Koshinsky was eventually relocated to the back of the aircraft, where he sat next to a male passenger who “seemed to be able to keep him calm” for the duration of the flight.

Koshinsky was subsequently arrested and charged with interfering with flight crew members, a felony carrying a maximum 20-year prison term. A federal magistrate yesterday ordered Koshinsky released from custody and directed him to report “via bus” to Treasure Coast Recovery in Stuart, a city 250 miles south of Jacksonville.

Koshinsky, whose Facebook page lists his most recent employer as a Massachusetts produce market, had originally been headed to the drug and alcohol treatment center before his alleged in-flight antics caused the JetBlue flight to be diverted. (4 pages)

3/11 UPDATE: In the below video shot by passenger David Riccio, a female flight attendant is seen trying to guide Koshinsky to the rear of the aircraft. After she directs him to remove his seatbelt, Koshinsky replies,  “Miss, I can’t. I’ve never been on a flight before.” When he eventually headed down the aisle, Koshinsky bellowed, “I just want everyone to know that I fought, fuck what this bitch is saying, I fought for your country. Nails and, nail and toe. I fought. I did what you're asking for. I did it. What did she do?" To which the JetBlue attendant replied, “Okay, I’m just working the flight.”