Man Sues Airline After Crew Says He Didn't Flush

Passenger denies accusations, seeks $500,000 in damages

A man is seeking half a million dollars in damages after his flight from Philadelphia to the West Coast ended with him being detained for allegedly cursing at the crew and failing to flush a toilet.

Salvatore Bevivino, a manager for San Francisco, Calif.-based Genetech, claims he was unfairly detained following a Virgin America flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco on April 28.

According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by, it was about an hour into the flight when Bevivino tried to order a soft drink directly through a flight attendant — instead of the plane's touch-screen entertainment system.

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The attendant told the 52-year-old he needed to place his order through the touchscreen. Moments later, a second flight attendant came over to discuss the matter. Bevivino said he wished to order a drink directly through the flight attendant, like is done on other airlines, the lawsuit says.

A short time later, a third flight attendant brought over the man's requested soda.

According to a police report, Bevivino went to the toilet a few minutes after the alleged incident. He came back out some time later with a smile on his face while cursing to no one in particular, according to the report.

“(A flight attendant) passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet,” the report stated.

Once the flight landed, Bevivino was detained for his alleged actions.

The pilot said that neither he nor his crew ever felt threatened by Bevivino, according to the police report.

In the lawsuit, Bevivino says he told the pilot that he didn’t curse at the crew during the dispute over ordering a drink directly. He also denies leaving the toilet unflushed.

After being detained for an unknown period of time, Bevivino was released by the San Francisco Police Department - Airport Division, according to a detention release certificate.

Bevivino is seeking damages for the embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, fright, shock, mental anguish and emotional distress he claims he felt during and after the incident.

Virgin America received the complaint last week. Spokesman Madhu Unnikrishnan told that "while we generally do not comment on ongoing litigation, we are aware of the incident in question, we have reviewed our internal crew reports and we are confident our teammates handled this matter appropriately."

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