Maria Esther Castillo of Oswego, N.Y., is due in court Thursday, charged with resisting arrest and interfering with the operations of a flight crew aboard United Airlines Flight 645, from Puerto Rico to Chicago.
Castillo, 45, struck a flight attendant on the buttocks with the back of her hand during Saturday's flight, FBI Special Agent Peter Carricato said in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. She also stood and fell onto the head of a blind passenger and later started pulling the person's hair, the complaint stated.
Ankle cuffs kept slipping off Castillo, so the flight crew and two passengers were forced to use duct tape to keep her in her seat, the complaint states.
She calmed as the pilot diverted the flight to Charlotte-Douglass International Airport, but became disruptive again when authorities boarded the plane to remove her, authorities said.
Carricato states that a passenger saw Castillo having drinks in an airport bar before boarding. She bought another drink on the plane. Flight attendants stopped serving her alcohol because of her behavior, the complaint states.
United spokesman Jeff Kovick said Wednesday that safety is the company's top priority and that it's cooperating with authorities.
FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson on Wednesday declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
A message left seeking comment wasn't immediately returned by Castillo's attorney, Julia Mimms.