Broward County

What’s hitting a flight attendant with ‘n------,’ ‘slave’ and death threats worth?

Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines Sun Sentinel

A Florida man will spend two months in federal prison after loudly threatening to blow up a Spirit Airlines plane, then calling a flight attendant “n------ bitch” and “slave” before threatening to kill her.

This behavior, uncommonly belligerent even for a Newark-to-Fort Lauderdale flight, earned 36-year-old Michael Minko plastic handcuffs in addition to his seat belt in 2F. Because flight attendants had to spend way too much time dealing with Minko, it also counts as interference with flight crew members and attendants, the federal crime for which Minko was sentenced Monday.

According to Minko’s admission in court documents, the passenger in 2D noticed Minko pounded Alprazolam, the generic name for anti-anxiety drug Xanax, and about half a bottle of bourbon in the first hour of a July 18 8:25 p.m. flight. Alprazolam prescriptions warn about mixing the drug with alcohol. The 2D passenger told a flight attendant, identified as “R.N.” in court documents, about Minko’s substantive substance consumption.

Outside spirits aren’t allowed on Spirit or any other airline. When R.N. told Minko he couldn’t drink any more bourbon from the bottle, Minko denied having the bottle. Then, he began yelling that he was sick and needed to get off the plane.

“(Minko) said he was going to kill R.N. and everyone else by blowing up the plane,” the stipulated facts statement says.

A flight attendant identified as “B.B.” told Minko to give the bottle to her.

“The defendant called B.B. a n----- bitch and a slave several times and told B.B. that he would kill her,” the statement says.

A fearful B.B. backed off, although she did give Minko a barf bag when he started hollering again about being sick. He responded with more cursing and racial slurs.

Minko also began punching the woman’s seat in front of him, pushed another passenger in the first row, then decided to punch the airplane window on his right. About 45 minutes out of Fort Lauderdale, R.M. rounded up three men and the foursome restrained Minko in the plastic handcuffs. B.B. then recorded Minko firing racial slurs while also complaining about the straps on his hands.

U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom, who also sentenced Minko to two years probation after his prison time, will allow Minko to start his sentence Feb. 23 after finishing treatment at an alcohol and drug treatment facility.

Minko’s from White Springs, in northern Florida.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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