Flight attendants restrained a passenger to his seat with duct tape during a Frontier Airlines flight last week after he allegedly punched and groped crew members and cursed at fellow passengers.
During a Saturday flight from Philadelphia to Miami, the passenger “made inappropriate physical contact with two flight attendants and subsequently physically assaulted another flight attendant,” Frontier confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY.
“As a result, the passenger needed to be restrained until the flight landed in Miami and law enforcement arrived.”
The man allegedly ordered multiple alcoholic drinks from a flight attendant during the flight and put his hand against the woman’s “backside inappropriately,” according to a police report from the incident, multiple outlets reported.
The man then spilled a drink on his shirt, went to the bathroom and came out without a shirt on. After a flight attendant helped him get a new shirt from his luggage, he allegedly groped the breasts of another flight attendant. He later came up behind the women “and put his arms around both of them and groped their breasts again,” according to the police report, multiple outlets reported.
A now-viral video shows a male flight attendant asking the passenger to calm down before the passenger can be seen punching him in the face. Flight attendants then taped him to the seat and tied him with a seatbelt extender.
During the video, the man, who is seen without a mask on, can be heard yelling, “You guys (expletive) suck,” and discussing his parents and grandfather’s wealth.
He was arrested on three counts of misdemeanor battery. FBI agents are not pursuing federal felony charges, according to multiple reports.
USA TODAY has reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department for additional information.
Frontier Airlines has placed the inflight crew members on paid leave, which is “in line with an event of this nature pending an investigation,” according to the airline’s statement to USA TODAY.
But Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants — CWA, slammed the decision in a statement obtained by USA TODAY, saying, “Management suspended the crew as a knee-jerk reaction to a short video clip that did not show the full incident.
“Management should be supporting the crew at this time not suspending them. We will be fighting this with every contractual and legal tool available, but we would hope there will be no need for that as management comes to their senses and supports the people on the frontline charged with keeping all passengers safe,” Nelson said.
This is not the first time in recent weeks that a passenger on an airplane has been taped down after disturbing the flight. Last month, a woman was restrained to her seat on an American Airlines flight after allegedly trying to open the plane’s doors and attacking a flight attendant.
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