Unruly passenger sucker punches AA flight attendant, arrest made at gate

An American Airlines passenger who airline officials say physically assaulted a flight attendant on an international flight is facing federal charges in the attack.

The incident took place Wednesday on flight 377 from San José del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles, an AA spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY.

When the plane landed safely in LA, the spokesperson said, law enforcement met the flight at its gate and removed the unruly passenger.

Authorities on Thursday charged Alexander Tung Cuu Le with interfering with a flight crew in connection to the assault. Le, of Westminster, California, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Video posted on social media shows a person run up behind a flight attendant toward the front of the plane and apparently punch them in the back of the head. An audible gasp from passengers is then heard.

Prior to the assault, the flight attendant can be heard on video speaking to someone behind first class saying, "Are you threatening me?"

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American Airlines aircraft wait at gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, on June 7, 2021.
American Airlines aircraft wait at gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, on June 7, 2021.

Ciaran McEvoy, public information officer with the United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California, told USA TODAY the unidentified passenger was arrested.

McEvoy also said their office was consulting with the FBI about the case. He did not provide additional details about the attack.

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In a statement, American Airlines also said the passenger has been banned from traveling with the airline in the future.

"Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines," it read.

"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."

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA recognized that it is "an incredibly hard day for flight attendants to go to work. But all over the country they are doing it."

"They are doing it even in the most persistently dangerous time for their personal safety – not only because they are brave, but because they are committed to bringing people together," Nelson added in a statement.

Contributing: Associated Press.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: American Airlines fight: Passenger punches flight attendant, charged