Maui News

6 Months in Jail for Turkish Man Who Disrupted Hawai‘i Flight

November 20, 2017, 3:07 PM HST
* Updated November 21, 6:01 AM
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Anil Uskanli, the 26-year-old Turkish man who caused a disturbance on board American Airlines flight  from LA to Honolulu on May 19, 2017, was sentenced today to time served (six months in federal prison).

Anil Tuvanc Uskanli was escorted off an American Airlines flight after it landed in Honolulu on May 19, 2017. PC: bplus.noisefloor.dnb / Benjamin.

Uskanli was also ordered to pay restitution of $8,525 for interfering with a flight crew while aboard the flight.

Elliot Enoki, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that Uskanli was arrested upon the flight’s arrival in Honolulu, after ignoring directions from flight attendants, yelling, pounding bathroom walls, and pushing against a drink cart positioned to prevent access to the cockpit.

According to information presented in court, Uskanli carried a laptop while advancing towards the cockpit, causing fear that he was carrying an explosive.

Flight attendants were required to ask passengers for help restraining Uskanli, and the pilot initiated emergency and bomb threat procedures.


Two military fighter jets were dispatched from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to escort the flight to a safe landing.


Uskanli was ordered detained following his arrest. After being determined competent to stand trial, Uskanli pled guilty to interfering with a flight crew and claimed that his conduct was the result of mental illness and a hallucination involving a butterfly.

At today’s sentencing, United States District Judge Derrick K. Watson sentenced Uskanli to six months in federal prison, the amount of time that he has served since his arrest. Uskanli was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,525 to American Airlines for the cost of a delayed return flight, flight crew expenses, and passenger inconvenience.

The Court also ordered that Uskanli be placed under a term of supervised release for three years, the maximum term available by statute for this offense.


This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from US Department of Homeland Security, the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff’s Office, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Airport Police.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Morgan Early.

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