American Airlines Pilot Tackles Passenger Charged With Assaulting Flight Attendant

Image courtesy of Lexington Herald-Leader

A Kentucky man is banned from flying on commercial airlines after being arrested on a slew of charges following an altercation with an American Airlines flight attendant that resulted in the man being pinned to the ground by the plane’s pilot.

A video of the altercation shows the 25-year-old man being subdued by the pilot after the passenger reportedly threatened to break a crew member’s jaw and pushed her to the floor, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

According to an FBI affidavit, the July 21 incident occurred after the man allegedly consumed several drinks, then became combative with the flight crew, threatening, shoving, kicking, and spitting at flight attendants while the plane taxied to a gate.

The passenger who took the recently released video says the flight from Lexington to Charlotte was uneventful until the plane landed in North Carolina.

“We landed and were taxiing, and waiting for the jet bridge to arrive at the exit door and the man started screaming, ‘let’s go, go’,” the second passenger, who is a flight attendant for Norwegian Airlines, tells the Herald-Leader.

A flight attendant asked the disruptive passenger to sit down, but he refused and followed her into the front galley.

Once the plane came to a complete stop, the Herald-Leader reports, the pilot came out of the cockpit and asked the man to sit down again. This time, he allegedly kicked one crew member and shoved another flight attendant to the floor before attempting to exit from the open door that was not yet connected to the jet bridge.

It was at that point that the pilot brought the passenger to the ground. The video shows the pilot yelling at the man, “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant.” The pilot and co-pilot then used a seatbelt strap to restrain the man’s legs for about 15 minutes before police could arrive.

“They kept apologizing the whole time to the passengers. And the guy kept fighting back,” the man taking the video said.

The man faces charges of being intoxicated and disruptive, assault on a female, communicating threats, and interfering with a flight crew or attendant. He was arraigned in federal court Monday, ordered to not fly commercially, and released on $25,000 bond.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the flight attendant who was pushed during the incident is undergoing physical therapy for her injuries.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA tells the Herald-Leader that incidents involving alcohol-fueled rage are on the rise.

“It is never acceptable for a passenger to assault a flight attendant, another member of the crew or other passengers. There is zero tolerance in a secure aviation system,” the Association said in a statement, noting that alcohol is a leading cause of air-rage incidents.

New video shows pilot’s takedown of combative Lexington man on flight [Lexington Herald-Leader]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.