An American Airlines passenger was detained by the FBI after allegedly assaulting an attendant on a flight from San José del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles on Wednesday, officials said.
Law enforcement were waiting for American Airlines flight 377 when it landed in L.A. “due to an unruly passenger who physically assaulted a flight attendant,” the airline said in a statement.
It said the aircraft was able to land safely and taxied to the gate, where law enforcement removed the passenger.
In video shared on social media, a flight attendant can be seen walking away from a passenger after appearing to tell them: “Yeah, that’s a no.” The passenger then runs up behind the attendant and appears to sucker punch them in the back of their head, prompting other passengers to cry out, with one shouting: “Oh my God!” It was not immediately clear what led up to the incident.
The FBI confirmed that an individual had been detained on a flight from Mexico to Los Angeles on suspicion of interfering with a flight crew, a federal offense.
American Airlines said it would be working closely with law enforcement in an investigation into the incident.
The airline also said the passenger would “never be allowed to travel with us in the future.”
“Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines,” it said.
Thanking crew members for jumping into action following the incident, the airline said: “Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant, and we are ensuring that they and their fellow crew members have the support they need at this time.”
U.S. airlines reported a dramatic rise in disruptive or violent incidents in 2021, with the Federal Aviation Administration logging 5,981 “unruly passenger reports.” Most appeared to involve federal requirements that face masks be worn due to the pandemic, according to the FAA.