The woman who caused a flight from Jacksonville, Florida, to Washington, D.C., to land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport said Wednesday’s incident was a major misunderstanding.
Tiffany Miles is facing a charge of airport obstruction. On Thursday, she’s out of jail and on her way to Washington, D.C. She paid the $1,000 bond and was released at about 1 a.m. Thursday from the Wake County Detention Center.
Airline employees radioed air traffic control to report that Miles was attempting to breach the cockpit of American Airlines flight 3444. However, Miles said she was heading to the bathroom after getting into an argument with a flight attendant.
American Airlines said Miles was unruly and presented a security concern, which forced Wednesday’s emergency landing at RDU.
“I am allowed to get upset,” Miles said. “Getting angry is not against the law.”
Miles said she flies often and never had an issue before. She said she has anxiety.
According to Miles, she tried to ask for a cocktail before the flight took off. She said she offered the flight attendant a tip, but the attendant said there was no drink service and refused to accept the tip.
During the flight, Miles asked for a cocktail again and was told there was no alcohol being served on the flight.
“I have anxiety,” Miles said. “So, sometimes I need a cocktail to cool off and calm down.”
Miles said she asked the attendant why passengers couldn’t order alcohol on the flight.
“I am already having high anxiety at this moment because we are almost an hour late and my shot that I took before was wearing off and we are about to fly,” Miles said.
After the encounter, Miles says she got up and was walking towards the bathroom, which is in the direction of the cockpit.
“What person in their right mind would go up to the cockpit while the pilot was flying the plane?” Miles said “It doesn’t make sense.”
Near the cockpit, Miles said two flight attendants stopped her and a passenger stepped in to calm her down. Miles said she was allowed to go back to her seat.
“I started freaking out because so many people started getting up on me,” Miles said. “I started freaking completely out, saying, ‘This is not called for.'”
Miles said she asked the flight attendant to call the police because the attendants were being rude to her.
“I said, ‘You are acting like I am doing something to you, but I feel like I am being threatened,'” Miles said. “‘I need help.'”
Miles described what happened after she got back to her seat.
“Just imagine four people coming up on you, two who you don’t know and they already told you they weren’t air marshals,” Miles said. “You are sitting in your chair, and they are trying to drag you out of your chair all because you asked a question and maybe wanted to go to the bathroom.
“Just imagine. It was ridiculous. “
The flight crew used zip ties and sat her in the back of the plane until the aircraft landed safely at RDU.
“The flight attendant told me I had to get up out of my chair or she was going to force me to the ground and put zip ties on me,” Miles said. “I said, ‘For what?!'”
“That made me go berserk.”
Miles said she “felt like she was under attack.” She said she doesn’t want the flight attendants to lose their jobs, but thinks they need training.
“I was never expecting to go to jail,” Miles said.
Miles is due in Wake County District Court on March 27 for the misdemeanor charge.
The FBI interviewed Miles on Wednesday at RDU. She is not facing any federal charges as of Thursday afternoon. The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Police Department filed the misdemeanor airport obstruction charge against Miles.
Miles said she was banned from flying from RDU.