Shocking video shows passenger punching flight attendant in the head

An unruly passenger was filmed punching a flight attendant in the back of the head on a flight from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to Los Angeles, California.

The footage was filmed by another passenger, Barrie Livingstone, on Wednesday. It shows a man in an orange shirt run toward the attendant and assaulting him before stepping back.

Mr Livingstone told KTLA that the passenger became angry when he was told that he couldn’t use the restroom in the front of the plane because he wasn’t seated in first class.

“Once he started screaming at him, the flight attendant just turned around and I think he was going to go and do something,” Mr Livingstone said of the altercation on American Airlines Flight 377. “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.”

Four other passengers helped restrain the man, using zip ties on his hands and feet.

“It felt like you were very helpless and then every 10 minutes, he sort of had Tourette’s and would just lash out and start screaming and shouting about being the messiah and feeling misunderstood,” Mr Livingstone told KTLA.

The passenger was arrested by FBI agents and airport police upon landing.

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

“If there wasn’t anyone who could’ve got up, it could have been much worse,” Mr Livingstone told KTLA.

The passenger hasn’t been publically identified.

An FBI spokesperson said that said he was arrested on suspicion of interference with a flight crew.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 1,973 reports of unruly passengers in 2022 as of 20 September. Investigations have been launched in 680 of those instances. The FAA site states that 468 enforcement action cases have been initiated.

There was a sharp rise in the number of incidents leading to investigations between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, there was 183 investigations started, according to the FAA, compared to 1099 investigations the following year.

There were 5,981 reports of unruly passengers last year, 70 per cent of which are reported to have been related to the rules regulating the use of facemasks, CNBC noted in April.