Story Time

Belligerent Woman Headbutts, Spits At Flight Attendants

An American Airlines passenger suddenly became violent on a flight, spitting at and headbutting several flight attendants as they tried to help her. After the incident, the unruly woman was unexpectedly hit with a proposed bill that made her blood run cold.

Despite various setbacks, airlines try to make trekking across the country as seamless as possible for their patrons, especially since the cost of flying can be particularly high. However, one aspect over which companies have little control is the behavior of their passengers, which can disturb and even endanger an otherwise peaceful flight.

Airlines are seeking to remedy this issue by making unruly fliers pay massively for their actions. After an unruly passenger on an American Airlines flight became belligerent and assaulted several flight attendants, she was detained and forcibly removed from the plane. After the incident, a proposed penalty was issued, which was far more costly than the price of her ticket.

American Airlines says that a flight from Dallas, Texas, to Charlotte, North Carolina, was interrupted when a female passenger who was out of her seat fell down. When a flight attendant rushed to assist her, the passenger immediately turned violent.

According to the airline, the woman “threatened to hurt the flight attendant that offered help to the passenger after she fell into the aisle. The passenger then pushed the flight attendant aside and tried to open the cabin door.” At this moment, the situation became hostile and several other flight attendants came to help, Newsmax reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that two attendants attempted to physically restrain the passenger but were battered by the aggressive woman. When they finally detained her, she continued her brutal assault on everyone within reach.

The FAA added, “Two flight attendants tried to restrain the passenger, but she repeatedly hit one of the flight attendants on the head. After the passenger was restrained in flex cuffs, she spit at, headbutted, bit and tried to kick the crew and other passengers.”

After the incident, the FAA proposed an $81,950 fine — the largest fine ever proposed by U.S. aviation regulators at the time — to pay for diverting the flight, disrupting the peace, and physically harming crew members and passengers. The fine is part of a zero-tolerance mandate for unruly passengers announced by the FAA.

According to the FAA, the woman “attempted to hug and kiss the passenger seated next to her; walked to the front of the aircraft to try to exit during flight; refused to return to her seat; and bit another passenger multiple times.”

Delta released a statement notifying the public that it “has zero tolerance for unruly behavior at our airports and on our flights as nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people.”

The FAA reported that there were over 7,000 incidents of unruly passengers in U.S. airlines over the course of a year. Just 80 of those passengers were referred to the FBI for potential federal prosecution.

While the fines may seem disproportionate to the actions, it is understandable when compared to the cost of diverting a flight, losing faithful customers, and possible legal action from unhappy patrons. If more passengers see the price for disrupting a flight, perhaps they will try harder to be on their best behavior.