Awful: American Flight Attendant Punched In Back Of Head

Awful: American Flight Attendant Punched In Back Of Head

69

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.

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (69)
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  1. John Guest

    Anyone that attacks, or causes a disturbance to this degree on a plane must be designated a terrorist and sent to Guantanamo bay. Let's write to our congress representatives and make it into federal law.

  2. Bunbbung Guest

    The video clearly doesn't show the interaction prior to the altercation, which presumably was of sufficient duration and volume to entice the videographer to retrieve a camera start recording. If the passenger insisted on sitting in an open seat and was being vocal about it, "deescalation" would be to allow it, and report the behaviour after flight. I suspect this is not part of AA culture, which puts frontline employees at risk of this sort...

    The video clearly doesn't show the interaction prior to the altercation, which presumably was of sufficient duration and volume to entice the videographer to retrieve a camera start recording. If the passenger insisted on sitting in an open seat and was being vocal about it, "deescalation" would be to allow it, and report the behaviour after flight. I suspect this is not part of AA culture, which puts frontline employees at risk of this sort of reaction to merely enforce a profit. On United, they offer a buy-up to Y+ and have a process by which crew can handle payment. I have never heard such an announcement on AA. To be fair, I don't really pay attention to Y related stuff though...

    Obviously the pax is entirely wrong and clearly understood this after being subdued by other pax; charges laid accordingly. AA should compensate all the pax that helped.

  3. Karen Guest

    Fake news. Trump wouldn’t have let this happen.

  4. Leslie Guest

    Big kudos to the passengers that helped restrain him.

  5. Mizkwebb Guest

    He’s Vietnamese, ignoramus

  6. surfski808 New Member

    It's likely the guy is Hawaiian based on the Aloha shirt he's wearing.

    1. surfski808 New Member

      Nevermind I just read he's from Orange County, California.

    2. Bobby Lee Guest

      The jerk off thug is pure Vietnamese, Tung Cuu Le, born in Orange County on 25 Jan 1989. Family name is pronounced "lay". Frequently uses a western name "Alexander T. Le".

  7. Adam Simmons Guest

    How many more incidents like this have to happen before an All Airlines No Fly List is introduced?

  8. Antonio Guest

    One of the reasons why people do this is that nobody ever punches them back. I’m a cab driver and have had the misfortune to be punched twice. On both occasions, the individual regretted his actions. Calling law enforcement is one answer, but what these people really respond to is being punched back - harder.

  9. iamhere Guest

    I would not be one of those passengers to get involved. I would not want to risk what I did versus the story told to law enforcement being different. The FA was absolutely right, unless there is a special reason the economy or premium cannot use the first or business class lavatory. Some exceptions are made for those with mobility issues or other related problems. I do agree that the FA handled this professionally and...

    I would not be one of those passengers to get involved. I would not want to risk what I did versus the story told to law enforcement being different. The FA was absolutely right, unless there is a special reason the economy or premium cannot use the first or business class lavatory. Some exceptions are made for those with mobility issues or other related problems. I do agree that the FA handled this professionally and the airline should make sure he is okay and cover his medical bills but that does not mean he should be rewarded beyond that. Being professional is or should be part of the job. This guy in addition to prison time and a ban on flying commercial airlines should also have to pay the fare difference if he sat further front.

  10. cls Guest

    I see now they have named him. CBS News is saying his name is Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33 years old.

    1. Clair Guest

      wah wahhh! Thanks for posting.

    2. Aussie Guest

      Violence against Asian Americans has really peaked since covid. We need to rise up…oh wait

  11. SleepyCreepyJoe Guest

    If they land in NYC does is he released immediately?

    1. Roastbeef Guest

      Only if he has an axe.

  12. cls Guest

    So why isn't he being named? Might as well make life difficult for them.

  13. Eskimo Guest

    1D 2C 3F are really having a moment.
    Funny how it happened in front of the plane which the whole plane could see but the 3 front rows had to take action.

    Maybe that guy was just high and thinks the flight attendant was blocking the aisle playing Ukulele when he need to use the lavatory. Right Tim?

    1. Robert Fahr Guest

      We were told it was mask mandates that made passengers act out. What will his jackass excuse be?

  14. BradStPete New Member

    Yiannis. How about keeping your racist comments at home ? NOT your first one on this space. Just a thought.

  15. bill Guest

    He isn't Mexican. He's American, of vietnames descent. Alexander Tuung cuu le. A mexican would be much too polite and well behaved to do anything like that.

  16. bill Guest

    He is an American of vietnamese descent. Alexander tung cuu le. I saw a profile of him on linkedin...

  17. bill Guest

    If I was the pilot, I would fly low, and slow down to 200 mph or so, ensure that I was over international airspace, and I would depressurize the cabin, and throw the passenger out -- with a life vest on. I'm sure the sharks would find him to be a tasty meal. This would deter others from attacking flight attendants.

  18. brad Guest

    And how do we know he is a Mexican national ? HMMM ? Share with us, please, And also share with us what difference that would actually make. I am currious.

  19. Santos Guest

    That screengrab has tremendous meme potential.

  20. Fly AA guy Guest

    If that passenger was on my flight, he would have a lot worse coming to him than just getting arrested. That's utter bull$hit.

  21. Aniljak Guest

    In Australia this sort of punch is now known as a coward punch!
    It comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years jail!!
    As for people on this forum who think a punch wont cause much damage, just ask any doctor!! A light punch in wrong spot will kill someone.
    Violence against any transport worker needs severe punishment anywhere in world

  22. Erik Nordenson Guest

    What is wrong with Americans ? Period

    1. Rotuma Gold

      Right. All Americans do this every day. All the other passengers on this flight and all other flights do the exact same thing.

    2. Emily Guest

      Not all Americans, but in flight rage and abuse are all the hype in the U.S. Such behaviour is unfortunately much more endemic to the states. Sad sad state of affairs.

  23. Leigh Gold

    We don't know anything about his ethnicity or nationality, but the additional reference to the Mexican airline makes your character obvious.

    Anyways, I hope he ends up in jail for his actions.

    1. Leigh Gold

      PS - turns out he's a US resident from Orange County. Racist.

    2. bill Guest

      He is an American of vietnamese descent. Alexander Tuung cuu le.

  24. Yiannis Guest

    If this happened on a middle eastern airline, like Saudia, do you know what would happen to him upon landing. Nope, no one would, you’d never see him again. That’s what we need to do in America, we’re crazy here…..there’s video, no excuse, lot him up?

  25. Maryland Guest

    As the amount of violent and out of control behavior escalates perhaps it's time to address it with mandatory sentencing and major fines. Also maybe a rage cage on every flight. A reminder for everyone. You act like an animal you get put in the cage and immediately shamed!

  26. Timo Gold

    A quick stretched leg in the aisle as he runs back would be a good idea. I hope a few dudes grabbed him in the back.

    1. Claire Guest

      he he...I like this!!

  27. Diana L Souligny Guest

    I recommend at least a 10 year prison sentence. Violence is unacceptable.

  28. ScottS New Member

    Sad thing is that even with all the proof, the guy will likely plea down and avoid any serious jail time. Very unfortunate situation for the flight attendant who did the right thing. Didn't deserve that at all.

  29. David Guest

    Our society has become too tolerant of crime and crap like this. This is what happens when you do. It's really that simple.

  30. Aaron Guest

    Give that FA an extra 3 weeks of vacation time, on the house.

  31. Joey Diamond

    Am glad there’s a video as proof of his actions. Not sure why that man had to resort to violence. Since he was restrained afterwards, I’m guessing he just urinated or did number 2 on himself?

  32. Donna Diamond

    And there wasn’t even a face mask involved…

  33. Gregg Guest

    Well, so did he get to use any bathroom in the end?

    1. Claire Guest

      Reports now are this wasn't about a restroom. It was about the jerk sitting in premium seats. He moved up from the back to sit in a better seat and was told to go back.

  34. George Romey Guest

    There needs to be stronger punishments for this. This moron is putting everyone's life in jeopardy. Maybe if our court system starts sending these pieces of trash to prison for 20 years it would stop quick.

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      He didn’t put anybody’s life at risk. Perhaps the flight attendant, although I imagine it’s a very small risk to lose your life from a strike like that.

    2. Skdxb Member

      You should be ashamed of writing this even if as a joke! Probably you would be writing something totally different were you to have been punched by this guy

    3. Andrew Guest

      You people are nuts. I had a homeless guy open my door and start punching me one time. I got out of the car, calmed down the situation, including my girlfriend who was freaking out and told him to get lost. He was an angry, hungry, cold, and probably mentally ill guy and I'm not a "victim" crybaby. So no I would not be suggesting this guy should get locked up forever if it was...

      You people are nuts. I had a homeless guy open my door and start punching me one time. I got out of the car, calmed down the situation, including my girlfriend who was freaking out and told him to get lost. He was an angry, hungry, cold, and probably mentally ill guy and I'm not a "victim" crybaby. So no I would not be suggesting this guy should get locked up forever if it was me. I truly think many of you are terrible people and it makes reading this blog a frustrating proposition.

    4. Goose1814 Guest

      ehhhh....this is a slippery slope. yes, doing what is needed to get out of safety but the fact he was allowed to do that is unacceptable. what if there was a child in your car? homeless and mentally ill are a threat to themselves or others which makes it a crime or involves detainment. like if a friend says "im going to kill myself" police can take them to psychiatric evaluation at a hospital. tolerance...

      ehhhh....this is a slippery slope. yes, doing what is needed to get out of safety but the fact he was allowed to do that is unacceptable. what if there was a child in your car? homeless and mentally ill are a threat to themselves or others which makes it a crime or involves detainment. like if a friend says "im going to kill myself" police can take them to psychiatric evaluation at a hospital. tolerance for this type of thing is a problem and why SF is a gorgeous city with disgusting things happening there. I have zero tolerance. I lived in NYC for 5 years in my roaring 20s and homeless were not bad at all, not in huge groups and not unhinged like that. The homeless man should be sent to a detention center. doesn't mean in your situation id do anything different or call police, id get the f outta there and shake my head. but the point being, it shouldn't happen or be allowed to or be tolerated to. Thats just logical from a safety perspective. there are a lot of trolls on here ...I think...and yes, this dude deserves to be banned from flying AA, a few nights in jail and some rehab. but he could have seriously hurt that guy and im sorry, a child can be traumatized and scared of flying if witnessing this. My mother is terrified of flying, if this happened to her on one of her trips, id be mortified bc its a chore getting her to go on fam trips. We have to be objective and pragmatic about all things and never allow the ability for things to go on for the possibly unhinged.

    5. bill Guest

      Assault should be punished severely. Any punk doing anything like this deserves either life in prison or capital punishment.

  35. Brian L. Guest

    I know it's physically impossible, but after they zip-tied him, they should've just opened the doorand tosses him out.

    1. bill Guest

      It's possible. They would have to go to a very low altitude -- 500 to 1000 feet, slow down, depressurize the aircraft, and open the emergency exit doors... then, they'd have to fly without the door to the nearest airport.

  36. thurstontravel Guest

    The passenger should be banned for life from flying on a US commercial airline, fined, and thrown in jail. This is unacceptable.

    1. HkCaGu Guest

      Yep. Sentence him to a lifetime of flying from TIJ (since with a record he can't walk into Canada).

    2. JS Guest

      Last year there were some news about Delta wanting a shared no-fly list with other airlines. Did that ever take off?

    3. Adam Simmons Guest

      Why just the US? We have airlines in Europe as well and Canada is rumoured to have one or two :) There's a need for a global blacklist, surely.

  37. awww yeah Guest

    I can't be the only one wishing it was me being tied up by that flight attendant ;)

  38. SamB Gold

    It's depressing that in-flight violence is now so common that it's a silver lining when a dangerous pax only tries to commit one physical assault.

  39. Alonzo Diamond

    Lmao, looks like he was easily arrested on the plane. Homeboy is trippin. He just mad they ran out of pretzels. But since when can non first class passengers not use the first class restroom? Thought AA got rid of that policy.

    1. MG Guest

      I don't appreciate your judgement on this man assuming it was pretzels the caused this. We all know only *86'ing Biscoff would cause this sort of ruckus....

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      When you’re flying international. You can’t even cross cabins let alone use the restroom.

    3. Stanley C Gold

      Excellent point as I have seen some flight attendants stopping passengers from roaming about the cabin including using or attempting to use the first or business class restrooms.

    4. Stanley C Gold

      As this was an international flight, there is a TSA imposed rule that prevents economy class passengers from using the restrooms in the front of the plane (first or business class).

    5. Stanley C Gold

      This is for for all incoming flights to America.

  40. Brandon Biden Guest

    I've said this before, cannot have violence in the plane, period.
    I would like the Guy to be convicted of assault, risking catastrophe, more, sent to Prison and then put onto NO FLY permanently.

    When his attorney claims was off his MEDS, Suspend Anyone off MEDS from flying, tired of the excuses. Send a MESSAGE!

    1. Skdxb Member

      Sadly no one cares anymore and such incidents, and maybe even worse ones, will keep on increasing.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

thurstontravel Guest

The passenger should be banned for life from flying on a US commercial airline, fined, and thrown in jail. This is unacceptable.

5
SamB Gold

It's depressing that in-flight violence is now so common that it's a silver lining when a dangerous pax only tries to commit one physical assault.

5
Brandon Biden Guest

I've said this before, cannot have violence in the plane, period. I would like the Guy to be convicted of assault, risking catastrophe, more, sent to Prison and then put onto NO FLY permanently. When his attorney claims was off his MEDS, Suspend Anyone off MEDS from flying, tired of the excuses. Send a MESSAGE!

5
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