A Southwest Airlines flight attendant was assaulted by a passenger and lost two teeth in the attack last weekend, according to a union president, who complained to the airline’s CEO about unruly passengers.
“Unfortunately, this is just one of many occurrences,” said the union president, Lyn Montgomery. She said there were 477 incidents of “misconduct” by passengers on Southwest planes between April 8 and May 15.
A Southwest spokesman said Tuesday that the incident happened Sunday morning after a flight from Sacramento landed in San Diego and involved a female passenger.
“The passenger repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing,” said the spokesman, Chris Mainz. He said police were asked to meet the plane when it arrived in San Diego, and the passenger was taken into custody.
Neither the passenger nor the flight attendant were identified. The flight attendant went to a hospital for treatment and was later released. Southwest flew a friend to San Diego to be with her.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that airlines have reported 2,500 incidents of unruly passengers this year, including 1,900 cases in which passengers refused to wear face masks, which are required by federal rule. The FAA provided those numbers as it announced it was seeking civil penalties totaling $54,500 against five passengers for behavior ranging from refusing to wear a mask to assaulting flight attendants.