Southwest Airlines Passenger Charged With Assault After Attacking Employee
A Southwest Airlines employee was transported to a hospital over the weekend after she was “verbally and physically” assaulted by an irate passenger at Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, on Monday.
The Dallas Police Department said that the unnamed employee was attacked during boarding on a flight from Dallas to New York City’s La Guardia Airport this past Saturday. Arielle Jean Jackson, 32, also punched a second employee in the head after being asked to leave the aircraft.
Jackson had a verbal altercation with an agent in the back of the plane, then was asked to leave the flight. As she was exiting, Jackson got into another altercation with a different agent and hit her with a closed fist to the head.
Jackson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and was held on a $10,000 bond. The victim was sent home after being treated for her injuries.
The incident was the latest in a scourge of violent acts directed at airline employees since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data released by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month, there have been 5,114 “unruly passenger reports” in 2021. More than 70% of those – 3,710 – were “mask-related,” the agency said.
“Interfering with the duties of a crewmember violates federal law,” the FAA notes on its website. “Federal Aviation Regulations 91.11, 121.580 and 135.120 state that ‘no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.'”