Brawls, unruly passengers and COVID affect holiday airport travel

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — Unruly passengers and brawls at airports across the country are forcing the TSA to crack down just in time for the holiday travel rush.

The TSA is warning if you step out of line, you will have to wait in line and even celebrities aren’t immune to the rule. NBA legend Dennis Rodman was greeted at the Fort Lauderdale airport by law enforcement after an airline flight crew complained that the basketball player kept pulling down his mask during the flight. Rodman was allowed to leave.

In Miami, two people were arrested after a brawl broke out between passengers and police at the Miami International Airport Monday night.

The shocking fight, which was caught on camera, happened in the middle of terminal H around 6:30 p.m. local time. Eyewitnesses told NewsNation that a passenger’s flight got delayed for at least 10 hours before it was then canceled. The passenger then got upset, taking the keys to an airport golf cart and refusing to give them back to an airport employee. Then chaos broke out as the passenger began arguing with police.

In the footage, an officer held a passenger in a headlock as more officers arrived to control the crowd and bystanders gathered around the scene. In the midst of the turmoil, it appears a police officer pulls out what appears to be a gun.

These are just the latest in a string of incidents in airports and aboard airplanes this year, some ending with passengers taped to their seats or zip tied, and some with them escorted off planes before they take off.

Just weeks ago, the TSA issued a stern warning to those who would behave disruptively or violently in airports across the country. Violence on planes has spiked in recent months, notably during the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent mask mandates. The TSA said they would take away TSA pre-check to those that violated airport rules.

This year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration has tallied at least 5,553 unruly passenger reports. Of those, 3.998 were mask-related incident reports.

Earlier this year, NewsNation followed flight attendants from Delta, American and Southwest Airlines as they were training to deal with unruly passengers. The self-defense class, offered by the TSA, teaches footwork, mechanics and a fighter’s mentality.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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