Unruly passenger assaults flight attendant, American Airlines says

(CNN) – An American Airlines flight attendant was assaulted by an unruly passenger on Wednesday, according to airline officials.

The incident happened on board American Airlines Flight 377 with service from San José del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles International Airport. Law enforcement picked up the flight at the gate and removed the unruly individual, according to a statement from American Airlines.

Video posted on social media shows an individual approaching a flight attendant to the front of the plane and punching the flight attendant with gasps from passengers who witnessed the incident.

“Acts of violence against members of our team are not tolerated by American Airlines,” the airline said in a statement. “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.”

Ciaran McEvoy, public information officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, confirmed a passenger from that flight was arrested. McEvoy added that their office is consulting with the FBI. No other information is provided.

CNN has reached out to the FBI and Los Angeles World Airport Police for more information.

“We thank our crew for their prompt action and professionalism to ensure the safety of our crew members and customers on board,” the statement from American Airlines read. “Our thoughts are with the flight attendant who was injured and we are ensuring that they and their crew members have the support they need at this time.”

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents more than 24,000 flight attendants for American Airlines, condemned the passenger’s behaviour.

“This act of violence puts the safety of all passengers and crew in jeopardy and has to be stopped,” said Julie Hedrick, APFA’s country president.

“APFA fully supports the affected crew members, and will do all it can to ensure that passengers face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

Measures taken to deal with unruly passengers

In January 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy for unruly passenger behavior that ignores warnings or advice and goes straight to penalties, may include heavy fines and imprisonment.

A New York City woman recently sentenced to four months in prison for interfering with crew members because of an incident that occurred on an American Airlines flight in February 2021.

FAA proposes $5 million in fines for unruly passengers by 2021.

While the number of reported cases has decreased, the number of cases where coercive action has been initiated has increased. So far in 2022, 468 enforcement cases have been initiated. In 2021, there are 350 units.

Top image: An American Airlines plane at Los Angeles International Airport is seen in this July 2021 file photo. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty Images)

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