While passengers misbehaving has become an everyday occurrence, fortunately you don’t often see flight attendants get physically attacked. Well, yesterday was an exception, unfortunately.
Mid-air assault on American flight attendant
This incident happened yesterday (Wednesday, September 21, 2022) on American Airlines flight AA377 from Los Cabos (SJD) to Los Angeles (LAX), which was operated by an Airbus A321.
In video footage posted online, you can see a flight attendant standing in the aisle, and then a passenger (a 33 year old man from California) coming up to him and making some sort of a violent fighting motion. At this point the flight attendant walks away, and then the passenger walks behind him and punches him in the back of the head.
The guy then ends up being zip-tied by the crew, until the plane can land in Los Angeles.
What happened here? According to an FBI affidavit:
- After takeoff, the passenger grabbed a flight attendant by the shoulder to ask for a coffee, and was told to wait
- He then moved from a seat in the back of the plane to a seat near business class (presumably in Main Cabin Extra, which costs extra), and was told to return to his assigned seat
- At this point the man stood up and swung at a flight attendant
- The flight attendant then walked toward the cockpit to report the incident to the pilots, and that’s the point at which the flight attendant was punched
Traveler arrested upon landing at LAX
It seems that the guy calmed down after being zip-tied, with the help of several passengers, who had to restrain him. Meanwhile the flight attendant spent most of the rest of the flight with a big of ice on his head in the galley. The plane landed at LAX as scheduled, and police met the flight and arrested the passenger. Here’s what an American Airlines spokesperson had to say about the incident:
“American Airlines flight 377 with service from San José del Cabo (SJD) to Los Angeles (LAX) was met by law enforcement upon arrival due to an unruly passenger who physically assaulted a flight attendant. The aircraft landed safely and taxied to the gate where law enforcement removed the individual.”
“Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future, and we will work closely with law enforcement in their investigation.”
“We thank our crew for their quick action and professionalism to ensure the safety of their fellow team members and customers on board. Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant, and we are ensuring that they and their fellow crew members have the support they need at this time.”
I hope American not only provides this flight attendant with the support he needs, but also recognizes him for how professionally he conducted himself. He tried to deescalate the situation, and that ended with him being punched. Hopefully he wasn’t injured too badly.
An American Airlines flight attendant got punched yesterday by an unhinged passenger. While I’m sure this traveler has some sort of “issues” that need to be addressed, it’s never okay to be violent like this, especially in a confined space. I hope he gets charged with something that reflects the gravity of what he did.
If there’s any silver lining (and I hate to even look at it in situations like this), at least the guy became cooperative while being zip-tied, because you also have some people who wouldn’t be, and that takes the issue to a whole different level.
What do you make of this inflight incident?