Passenger sucker-punches attendant from behind on flight to California, video shows

·2 min read
Screenbrab from Twitter video by Barrie Livingston

An unruly passenger on an California-bound American Airlines flight punched an attendant in the head from behind, video shows.

Other passengers helped detain the man, who was arrested on landing at Los Angeles International Airport, KABC reported.

The incident took place Wednesday, Sept. 21, on American Airlines Flight 377 from San José del Cabo, Mexico, the airline said in a statement.

A video posted to Twitter by a friend of another passenger shows the attendant confronting the man, who wears a Hawaiian shirt, in the aisle.

The passenger was angry about being told not to use the restroom in the first-class cabin, the post said.

“Once he started screaming at him, the flight attendant just turned around and I think he was going to go and do something,” Barrie Livingstone, who took the video, told KTLA. “But as he turned around and walked away, the guy jumped out of his seat, bolted down the (aisle), and punched him in the back. It was totally unprovoked.”

Other travelers gasp in shock at the attack, the video shows.

“Oh my God,” shouts a passenger. “What are you doing?”

The attacker appears to return to his seat while the attendant runs out of the cabin, the video shows.

Four other passengers restrained the man with zip-ties on his hands and feet, Livingstone told KTLA.

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

The FBI told KCBS the man has been charged with interfering with a flight crew, which is a federal offense. His name has not been released.

Reports of unruly passengers have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the FAA. So far this year there have been 1,973 reports of unruly passengers, resulting in 680 investigations.

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