A 65-year-old Japanese man pleaded guilty Friday to assaulting a flight attendant aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from Tokyo to Honolulu, a federal prosecutor said.
Sohei Yamanouchi was expected to return to Tokyo on a Japan Airlines flight Friday. His passport would be returned after paying the $2,500 fine the judge ordered him to pay, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said.
Yamanouchi hit the flight attendant once with an open hand and once with a closed fist after drinking four glasses of wine in business class during the Monday flight, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. A crew member also noted that Yamanouchi had a glass of champagne before the plane departed.
After the meal service, the flight attendant was speaking to a passenger sitting behind Yamanouchi about a media player that wasn't working. He then rose from his seat and struck the flight attendant on her left shoulder with an open palm, then punched the same shoulder, shook his fist at her in a "threatening manner," and told her to "shut up" in English, the complaint said.
He was escorted back to his seat and there were no other confrontations during the remainder of the flight.
Yamanouchi was traveling to Hawaii to attend his son's wedding at a Waikiki hotel, Song said. FBI agents arrested Yamanouchi when the flight landed at Honolulu International Airport. He was released on $10,000 bond _ with a provision that he not be allowed to drink alcohol _ and he attended the wedding.
Through a Japanese-language interpreter, Yamanouchi apologized for inconveniencing the court. He told the judge he was trying to sleep but people were talking, so he told the flight attendant to be quiet, Song said.