JetBlue passenger charged with assault after threatening fellow passenger

A JetBlue Airbus A320 taxis to the terminal.
Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – A Utah man has been charged with assault after threatening a fellow passenger with a razor. The event took place on a JetBlue flight from New York’s JFK airport, to Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah.

The Utah man was allegedly drunk when he held the razor blade to his next seat neighbour’s throat. The man was subsequently arrested and the weapon was secured and identified upon arrival.

The incident

On November 21, the passenger was arrested upon arrival at the Salt Lake City Airport (SLC), after threatening his next seat neighbour with a razor blade.

The man has now been charged in a federal complaint for carrying and using a straight edge razor blade on the flight, holding it on the throat of the woman seated next to him, an official press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Utah states.

The accused was seated in a window seat on JetBlue’s flight 871 with service from John F. Kennedy airport (JFK), to Salt Lake City airport (SLC), where he reportedly put his hand on the in-flight entertainment screen of the woman next to him, telling the woman to turn off the movie.

The woman took off her headphones and realized the man holding what appeared to her like a knife, the report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

The woman’s husband quickly left his seat to get assistance, with the woman quickly moving away from the man thereafter.

The man, identified as Merrill Darrell Fackrell, was reported to have consumed great amounts of alcohol prior to the event, a New York Post article says.

According to the information seen by AviationSource provided by, the flight path of JetBlue flight 871 on November 21, shows the flight as completed without diversion. The flight was operated by an Airbus A320 registered N630JB.

What stage of the flight the event occurred is not yet known, but seeing that the airplane landed at its destination gives off the impression that this happened in a later stage of the flight.

What’s next for the Utah man?

At this time, the consequences for the Utah man and his threatening actions remain unknown. However, a court case towards Merrill Darrell Fackrell does seem likely.

With the case being reported to the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a “criminal complaint”, they specify that a criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. With this meaning that the defendant(s), in this case Merrill Darrell Fackrell, is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

JetBlue flight met by bomb squad at Newark

This event is just one of two JetBlue incidents in the past few days, as an Embraer E190 of JetBlue was greeted by the bomb squad upon arrival at the Newark airport (EWR).

According to information seen by AviationSource, the flight was B62028 from Orlando International Airport that departed at 0800 EST on November 23, shows.

The aircraft arrived in Newark at 1047 EST before being greeted by the bomb squad. After arrival, the aircraft taxied to a remote stand at the airport and disembarked the 100 passengers onboard.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority stated the following: “The safety of our customers and crewmembers is JetBlue’s first priority, and we will work to support law enforcement with their investigation.”

The FBI was informed of the threat at 1025 EST, with the plane cleared of all threats by 1300 EST.

B62028 was operated by N355JB, one of the airline’s Embraer E190-100AR aircraft.

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