On Saturday, an employee of Southwest Airlines was attacked by a passenger after being verbally assaulted and subsequently hospitalized. The incident occurred during the boarding of a flight from Dallas to New York. Police have arrested the passenger, who is facing a charge of aggravated assault.
According to Dallas police, the passenger, who remained unnamed, boarded Southwest Flight 4976 at 12:40 p.m. at Dallas Love Field airport and headed straight to the back where she got into a verbal altercation with a flight attendant, who asked her to leave the aircraft. The flight was heading to LaGuardia Airport in New York.
She then walked to the front of the plane and fought with another Southwest employee, whom the Airlines has identified as an operations agent, and punched the employee in the head, with a closed fist. A report by the Newsweek named the passenger as 32-year old Arielle Jackson.
The Southwest employee was shifted to a local hospital and is said to be stable, as per a report by the police.
The airlines released a statement saying that their employee was in a hospital and was receiving full support from the Southwest Family. They said that they fully support their employee and will cooperate with “local authorities” regarding the “unacceptable incident.”
This is not the first incident where a Southwest employee has faced a physical altercation. In May 23, a passenger assaulted a Southwest flight attendant in a flight between Sacramento and San Diego. Court documents stated that the flight attendant was punched, lost two teeth and had other face injuries.
After this incident took place, the president of the flight attendants’ union said that more federal marshals should be present on aircrafts as the number of passenger incidents had been increasing and they were becoming more aggressive.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at least 5,114 reports of passenger behavior have been reported from the beginning of the year. In 2020, the FAA conducted 183 investigations into unruly behavior by passengers. However, the number of investigations have increased almost four-fold as there have been 970 investigations in 2021, to date.
Image Credit Twitter