This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Sandy man is charged in U.S. District Court with assaulting a flight attendant with bags of peanuts and pretzels after he was asked to stop using an electronic cigarette aboard a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City this week.
Pogos Paul Sefilian, 42, became combative on Southwest Airlines Flight 188, which departed Los Angeles at 6 p.m. on Monday, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Tuesday. Sefilian started using an electronic cigarette after boarding the plane. The device uses heat to simulate smoking tobacco-filled cigarettes with a vapor that is inhaled. A flight attendant spotted Sefilian with the electronic cigarette and informed him he couldn't use it on the plane, the complaint states.
Sefilian argued with the flight attendant, but stowed the device, according to the complaint. But after takeoff, he pulled it out and became enraged when the attendant again asked him to put it away, the complaint states.
Later, he threw peanuts and pretzels at the flight attendant and at the flight deck door in an apparent attempt to protest the airline's policy banning electronic cigarettes, the complaint states. The flight attendant asked Sefilian to stop his unruly behavior, but as the flight approached Salt Lake City International Airport, Sefilian jumped up and started opening overhead containers, the complaint states.
The flight attendant made six announcements for Sefilian to sit down, but he refused, instead posturing his chest out at the flight crew, according to the complaint.
FBI agents arrested Sefilian once the plane landed.
He is charged with interference with a flight crew. The case has been assigned to U.S. Magistrate David Nuffer.