Flight Disruption No Joking Matter, Man Faces 20 Years

Joseph H. Johnson, 56, of Salem, was released after his first appearance in federal court Monday afternoon, promising he would appear for further court proceedings.

Johnson is accused of the criminal act of interfering with the performance and duties of a flight crew member or attendant which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He was arrested Jan. 6 after handing a joking note to a flight attendant.


According to notes from interviews by federal agents, Johnson’s travel companion insisted his notes on the airline comment card were meant to be a joke. The Justice Department included a copy of the card in those documents.

On the card in a feedback section, Johnson wrote, “I thought I was going to die, we were so high up, I thought to myself: I hope we don’t crash and burn or worse yet landing in the ocean…”

He also mentioned the television series “Gilligan’s Island” writing “… and what if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited to earth, landed on Gilligans Island and then lived through it, and the only woman there was Mrs. Thurston Howell III? No Mary Anne (my favorite), no Ginger, just lovely!”

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