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Haitian man faces U.S. charges over reclining airline seat squabble

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[October 11, 2014]  BOSTON (Reuters) - A Haitian man who authorities say got into a heated dispute on a flight bound from Miami to Paris over a reclining seat has been charged with assaulting a flight attendant, U.S. prosecutors in Boston said on Friday.

Edmond Alexandre, 60, was charged in federal court with interfering with flight crew members after becoming enraged when a woman passenger sitting in the seat in front of him reclined the seat, encroaching on his space.

Officials said he argued with the other passenger, grabbed a flight attendant by the arm and then was restrained and arrested by federal air marshals aboard the plane. The incident caused the American Airlines flight to be diverted to Boston.

Alexandre, who lives in Paris, could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison if convicted of one count of interference and attempted interference with a flight crew, though prosecutors noted that it is rare for such a severe sentence to be imposed.

It was at least the third such seat squabble to lead to a flight diversion in recent months. Last month, a Delta Air Lines fight headed to Florida was diverted after a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat.

Days before that incident, a United Airlines flight to Denver from Newark, New Jersey, was diverted over an argument between passengers over the same issue.

(Reporting by Scott Malone)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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