A tough-as-nails captain booted a federal air marshal off his plane after the cranky man threatened to file an official complaint about a flight attendant who spilled a drink.
The bizarre incident is described in a discrimination lawsuit filed Monday by David Maldonado, an air marshal who appears to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Maldonado, who is based at the Transportation Security Administration’s New York field office in East Elmhurst, Queens, and three other air marshals pre-boarded a jetliner on Aug. 4, 2012 and informed the flight crew of their assignment.
Before takeoff, a flight attendant spilled a tray of drinks on Maldonado and “responded by laughing sarcastically and walking away without apologizing … or offering to clean the spill,” according to the suit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Thirty minutes later, she offered another air marshal the choice of three different meals — but only offered him a “beef” entrée, Maldonado claims.
Outraged, he rushed up to the cockpit, where he informed the captain that he might be required to report the incidents to the TSA’s Mission Operation Center in Washington, D.C.
The captain clearly wasn’t in the mood for Maldonado’s complaints.
“Are you mad? Because I don’t want a mad person with a gun on my plane,” the captain said, according to the suit.
“I didn’t serve 21 f—–g years in the military being shot at so that you can threaten me with a phone call!” the captain said, according to court papers.
Maldonado made good on his threat, but the captain barred him from getting back on the plane. Maldonado was grounded by the TSA during an internal investigation.
He was suspended for seven days after the incident.
Maldonado’s suit grouses that his suspension was retaliation for two internal complaints he had filed with the agency five years earlier.
He also alleges that a supervisor referred to him as having mental issues and that he was told to contact an employee assistance program for help with his “anger issues,” the suit states.
The TSA declined comment.
So for at least five years, the TSA has known that they’ve got an armed lunatic with “anger issues” flying loose around the country, and it does nothing about it? This, along with over a decade of stories of TSA agents stealing drugs, jewelry and anything else not nailed down in passengers’ luggage, groping, even raping women, fondling children and confiscating toothpaste, all without catching a single terrorist, makes me wonder if the billions expended on airline safety since 9/11 is being spent wisely.
UPDATE: by the way, I just noticed that there were four marshals on the flight, so they weren’t on duty to begin with; just goons on a junket.