A 22-year-old man faces 20 years in prison after he allegedly tried to bite a flight attendant before jumping out of a plane.

Tun Lon Sein caused an affray on American Airlines Flight 5242 on Thursday (25 May) morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

Sein got up out of his seat after the fasten-seatbelt sign was illuminated. Refusing to return to his seat he attempted to bite a flight attendant's hand.

While two passengers tried to intervene he managed to open the aircraft door and jump out of the plane onto the tarmac below.

According to the criminal complaint Sein showed disregard for safety requirements.

"Sein spoke little or no English during these events. However, circumstances surrounding his actions show that Sein understood the directions of the F/A, as well as the safety requirements of commercial air travel," the complaint said.

The flight arrived in New Bern an hour and a half late following the incident Mail Online reports.

Sein was apprehended by police and scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Friday morning. He could face 20 years in prison if he is convicted of charges of interfering with flight crew members.