Crime & Courts

Nevada man accused of interfering with crew on flight from Seattle to Anchorage is arrested

A man accused of interfering with flight attendants and causing a disruption on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Anchorage was arrested last week when the plane landed, according to federal court documents.

Robert Brandon Smith, 44, is from Reno, Nevada, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

Smith appeared intoxicated, was “hitting on” a flight attendant and became agitated after people around him complained he was listening to his phone without earbuds, according to a sworn affidavit filed Monday by an FBI special agent in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Smith again became agitated as attendants conducted the flight’s second beverage service and started yelling loudly when passengers intervened, the affidavit said. An attendant gave a pair of airline-provided flex cuffs to a passenger sitting behind Smith in case they needed to restrain him, it said.

Attendants moved passengers away from Smith’s seat, a uniformed pilot who was a passenger on that flight sat next to him, and the pilots locked down the cabin door, the affidavit said. Some passengers said Smith was drinking from small alcohol bottles for the duration of the flight, it said.

Smith agreed to be interviewed by the agent after the plane landed at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport just after 3:30 p.m., the affidavit said. He said he couldn’t get his earbuds to work and got angry when another passenger grabbed him and told him to turn the phone down, it said.

He said he thought he was “very nice and cordial” to the attendants and drank two beers all day, the agent wrote.


The agent arrested Smith at the airport last Thursday and took him to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on charges that included interference with flight crew members and simple assault.

Smith remained jailed as of Tuesday with an initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday.