Southwest Airlines employee hospitalized after passenger punched her, police say

Passengers test in for a Southwest Airways flight at Orlando Worldwide Airport in Orlando, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

A Southwest Airlines worker was assaulted by a passenger Saturday afternoon following a “verbal altercation,” the airline stated.

The incident occurred throughout boarding for Southwest Flight 4976 from Dallas Love Subject to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

In keeping with Dallas police, the passenger boarded the flight round 12:40 p.m. and headed straight to the again, the place she argued with a flight attendant who instructed the passenger to depart the aircraft.

The passenger then walked to the entrance of the aircraft and verbally fought with one other Southwest worker earlier than punching that individual within the head, police stated.

Police arrested the passenger, who faces a cost of aggravated assault.

The sufferer, who Southwest Airways recognized solely as an operations agent, was taken to a neighborhood hospital and is in secure situation, police stated.

“We now have a Station Supervisor together with her on the hospital with the total assist of her Southwest Household sending our ideas, prayers, and love,” an airline spokesman stated in an emailed assertion. “Southwest Airways maintains a zero-tolerance coverage concerning any kind of harassment or assault and totally assist our Worker as we cooperate with native authorities concerning this unacceptable incident.”

Earlier this yr, a passenger punched a Southwest flight attendant aboard a Might 23 flight from Sacramento, California, to San Diego. The flight attendant misplaced two enamel and had different accidents to her face, in response to court docket paperwork.

The incident marked an escalation in unruly conduct by airline passengers and led the president of the flight attendants’ union to ask for extra federal air marshals on planes.

“The unprecedented variety of incidents has reached an insupportable degree, with passenger non-compliance occasions additionally changing into extra aggressive in nature,” Lyn Montgomery, the president of the Transport Staff Union of America Native 556, wrote in a Might letter to Southwest Airways CEO Gary Kelly.

In keeping with the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been not less than 5,114 reviews of unruly passengers for the reason that starting of the yr throughout all airways and greater than 970 investigation initiated by the FAA in 2021 in comparison with 183 investigations in 2020.

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