A first-class passenger flying home from Atlanta became enraged with a flight attendant who refused to continue serving the man alcohol, calling him a “fag” and a “queer” before throwing a glass of ice at him and hitting him with an onboard telephone, according to an FBI affidavit obtained first by The Daily Beast.
Christopher Alexander Morgan was arrested when Delta Air Lines flight 2908 touched down April 22 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, states the affidavit, which was unsealed Monday. He is facing charges of interference with flight crew members or attendants, a felony which carries up to 20 years in prison.
The fracas started before the aircraft even left the ground, when Morgan, who was sitting in seat 1D, “reclined his seat all the way back and refused to put on his seatbelt,” the affidavit alleges.
Two flight attendants told Morgan that he needed to bring his seatback to the upright position for takeoff, but he refused, becoming “uncooperative and would not comply with their instructions,” according to the affidavit.
Once the plane was in the air, Morgan ordered, and was served, an alcoholic beverage. When he ordered a second, the flight attendant, who is identified in the complaint only as “H.D.,” offered him a non-alcoholic drink instead, which “angered Morgan,” states the filing.
“Morgan called H.D. the f-word and a ‘queer’ and threw a glass of ice at H.D.,” the affidavit continues. “When passenger R.O., who was sitting in seat 2G, said something to Morgan to deescalate Morgan’s display of aggression, Morgan became angry with the passenger R.O. and held the glass he was holding up to R.O.’s face.”
At this point, H.D., the flight attendant and main focus of Morgan’s ire, went to the galley to call the captain and tell him what was happening in the cabin.
“According to H.D., Morgan then got out of his seat, grabbed the telephone from H.D., and hit H.D. in the chest with the telephone,” the affidavit states. “Passenger R.O. reported that he heard Morgan call H.D. a ‘fag’ and that he observed Morgan take the airplane phone from H.D. and throw it at him.”
Another flight attendant guarded the cockpit door for the remainder of the flight, “out of security concerns for the flight crew,” says the affidavit. “H.D. reported that he did not know what Morgan might do next.”
Once the flight landed in Phoenix, FBI agents met the plane and interviewed Morgan.
Morgan “said the flight attendant was homosexual and that this made him uncomfortable,” according to the affidavit, which says Morgan admitted becoming angry at being denied another drink.
“Morgan said that he is homophobic and that it is possible he could have been intimidating to the flight attendants,” the affidavit concludes. “He said that his homophobia may have caused his temper towards the flight attendant to escalate and he admitted that he called H.D. a queer.”
However, it adds, Morgan “denied assaulting H.D. and said he never touched a telephone.”
So far in 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 1,233 unruly passenger reports, initiating 370 investigations and referring 80 cases to the FBI for criminal review, according to the latest FAA data. In 2021, the FAA launched 991 investigations into passenger disturbances, a 441 percent increase over 2020.
As The Daily Beast reported earlier this month, Southwest passenger Antonio Sherrodd McGarity was arrested following a three-hour flight from Seattle to Phoenix for allegedly masturbating openly four times during the trip. He told arresting officers he thought his behavior “was kind of kinky,” according to court filings.
Morgan does not have a lawyer listed in court records and was unable to be reached on Friday. Delta did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.