Fistfight breaks out between passengers on flight over seat stuck in reclined position

Southwest

AUSTIN (NewsNation Now) — Another instance of “air rage” — a brawl broke out Sunday between two passengers on an American Airlines flight from New Orleans to Austin.

The flight actually began while the plane was in the air. The fistfight broke out in the aisle of the plane after it landed in Austin, but the two men involved started arguing while the plane was in the air over a seat that was stuck in the reclining position.

In a video captured by another passenger, the two men trade blows with each other as another person between them tried to break them up. The men fall into other seat passengers, many of whom repeatedly cream for them to stop.

The man who tried to separate the pair then begins to punch one of them in the back several times.

Officers from the Austin Police Department detained the men involved in the fight, but no one was arrested, and they did not release any other information about the brawl.

A statement from the airline confirmed “law enforcement were requested” after the plane arrived in Austin “due to an altercation between passengers” but gave no other information.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported an increase in incidents when passengers have disrupted flights due to violent behavior at the start of 2021. 

This latest incident comes just days after a new flight attendant survey was released about unruly passengers. According to the study, 85% of flight attendants have dealt with unruly passengers this year.

The survey polled 5,000 flight attendants from 30 airlines, and the latest numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration show there have been more than 3,600 reports of unruly passengers this year.

The flight attendants union and several U.S. airlines have pressed for stricter consequences, including a zero-tolerance policy and the potential for these passengers to be criminally prosecuted.

So far, it appears the U.S. Department of Justice and the FAA have not taken action on these requests; however, a spokesman for the flight attendants’ union says this is not a new normal they’re willing to accept.

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NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report.

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