Frontier Passenger Who Charged Flight Attendant With Box Cutter Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison

by Anthony Losanno
Frontier Plane

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In November 2022, a passenger managed to board a Frontier Airlines flight with a box cutter. After he made other passengers nervous by brandishing it, he caused a diversion to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and rushed a flight attendant to “stab someone” upon landing. Now he has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

The flight departed from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and was headed for Tampa International Airport on November 11, 2022. William Allen Liebisch, a 43-year-old Cincinnati resident, brought a box cutter to the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) found the would-be weapon and “mistakenly believed they had disabled (it) by removing the blade” before returning it to Liebisch. They did not realize that an extra blade was held in the box cutter’s handle.


Once on the plane, Liebisch swapped in the alternate blade and began using it to clean his nails. This made another passenger nervous and it was reported to the flight crew. The flight attendants had two male passengers (including a former law enforcement officer) assist them with Liebisch. One stood near him and another took the seat of the passengers that notified the flight crew of the box cutter.

Liebisch got nervous and refused to sit back down. He said he “wanted to stab someone on board the flight.” The captain was notified and the plane diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Passengers were urged to deplane as quickly as possible while Atlanta police waited for Liebisch out of sight. In the process he rushed towards a flight attendant with the box cutter and was subdued by another passenger and law enforcement.

Liebisch pleaded guilty in December. His federal defender argued that her client had a traumatic brain injury and experienced substance abuse issues as a result. She acknowledged his prior criminal history and encounters with law enforcement, but said they all came after his brain injury. This did not fully sway the court as he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on a charge of interfering with the performance of the duties of a flight crew.

Anthony’s Take: Thankfully, Liebisch was disarmed before he was able to injure anyone. It’s a shame that the TSA gave him the box cutter back without knowing about the other blade. I’m not sure why it would not have been confiscated altogether.

(Featured Image Credit: Frontier Airlines.)

(Image Credit: WSB-TV 2.)

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