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Woman charged after American Airlines flight diversion explains what led up to emergency landing

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — The woman who caused a flight from Jacksonville, Florida, to Washington, D.C., to land at Raleigh-Durham International Airport said Wednesday’s incident was a major misunderstanding.

Tiffany Miles is facing a charge of airport obstruction. On Thursday, she’s out of jail and on her way to Washington, D.C. She paid the $1,000 bond and was released at about 1 a.m. Thursday.

Airline employees radioed air traffic control to report that Miles was attempting to breach the cockpit of American Airlines flight 3444. However, Miles said she was heading to the bathroom after getting into an argument with a flight attendant.

American Airlines said Miles was unruly and presented a security concern, which forced Wednesday’s emergency landing at RDU.

“I am allowed to get upset,” Miles said. “Getting angry is not against the law.”

Miles said she has anxiety and she tried to order a cocktail. An airline attendant told her there was no drink service. The attendant refused to ask the captain why there was no drink service on the flight.

“I have anxiety,” Miles said. “So, sometimes I need a cocktail to cool off and calm down.”

After the encounter, Miles says she got up and was walking towards the bathroom, which is in the direction of the cockpit. There, a flight attendant stopped her and a passenger stepped in to calm her down.

“I started freaking out because so many people started getting up on me,” Miles said. “I started freaking completely out, saying, ‘This is not called for.’

About five minutes later, the flight crew used zip ties and sat her in the back of the plane until the aircraft landed safely at RDU.

“I was never expecting to go to jail,” Miles said.

Miles is due in Wake County District Court on March 27 for the misdemeanor charge.

The FBI interviewed Miles on Wednesday at RDU. She is not facing any federal charges as of Thursday afternoon. The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Police Department filed the misdemeanor airport obstruction charge against Miles.

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