Passengers tackled Francisco Severo Torres, 33, after the alleged stabbing attempt and the flight crew helped restrain him prior to the plane landing at Boston Logan International Airport.
A judge ordered the Massachusetts resident held without bail following an initial court appearance on Monday. Torres is set to have another hearing on Thursday. A court-appointed lawyer for Torres did not respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said that about 45 minutes before the flight landed in Boston, the flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a door between the first class and coach sections had been disarmed.
After another flight attendant reported seeing Torres near the door and suspected he’d tampered with it, a colleague had confronted the man, who asked if any cameras recorded him doing so.
It’s alleged that Torres then tried to stab the flight attendant with a broken metal spoon, hitting him on the neck area three times before being tackled.
“We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights, and this customer will be banned from flying on United pending an investigation,” United Airlines said in a statement. “We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”
Torres was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.