The most mindful and centered man in the universe got a flight from Hawaii to Japan turned around when he refused to stop doing yoga in the aisle. The Associated Press reports that the 72-year-old didn’t want to go back to his seat. He wanted to nama-stay where he was. (I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.)
In a story we saw via Consumerist, the AP reports that a March 26 United flight from Honolulu to Narita International Airport turned around because of passenger Hyongtae Pae. Pae didn’t want to stay in his seat during meal service, according to a criminal complaint, and instead went to the back of the plane to “do yoga and meditate.”
Neither was apparently as soothing as you might think, because Pae refused to return to his seat when the flight crew asked him to, according to the criminal complaint, then pushed his wife when she also asked him to sit down. He completed some sort of Zen hat trick when he also attempted to “head-butt and bite Marines who were passengers on the flight” and were also trying to get him to sit down, per the AP. Now that’s a Warrior Pose! (Again, I am very sorry.)
When Pae was again asked to sit down, he grew “more agitated,” according to an affidavit from an FBI agent, and started yelling that there “is no God.” From there, the affidavit adds, “Able-bodied passengers were asked by the flight attendants to assist in placing the man’s hands and feet into restraints.” Pae was then forcibly placed in his seat.
Things get significantly less funny from here, because Pae was clearly not well: his attorney told the AP outside the courthouse that his client was a 72-year-old retired farmer who traveled from South Korea to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary. He only recently took up yoga to combat anxiety, the attorney added, and told the FBI he’d been unable to sleep for 11 days.
Pae said in an FBI interview that he shoved his wife because he felt like she was “siding with the flight crew.” He also said he was unaware that it was illegal to disobey a flight attendant. It is: he’s charged with Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants. If convicted, he faces fines or up to 20 years in jail.
The AP reports that an assistant U.S. attorney said Pae “urinated on himself” and was placed on suicide watch while he was detained in Honolulu. A judge ordered Pae released on a $25,000 bond, but he’s not permitted to leave the island of Oahu or fly home to Korea, since that entails getting on a plane again. Court records show he’s also been required to undergo a mental health evaluation and has had to surrender his passport.
Photo via AP Images