Southwest Airlines Staff Member Taken to Hospital Following Reported Passenger Assault

By Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.
November 15, 2021 Updated: November 15, 2021

A Southwest Airlines staff member was taken to a hospital after an alleged assault at Dallas Love Field.

In contrast with some early media reports, the airline stated that the employee wasn’t a flight attendant, but an operations agent, The Hill reported.

The alleged attack took place during the boarding process for a New York flight. Dallas police said that the passenger boarded the flight at 12:40 p.m. local time on Nov. 13 and was asked to leave the flight after a verbal altercation with the operations agent.

As the passenger was exiting, the argument continued, with the passenger punching the agent in the head. The agent was taken to the hospital and was released that evening.

The passenger was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, police said.

“Our entire Southwest Family is wishing her a speedy and full recovery as we send our thoughts, prayers, and love to her,” Southwest said in a statement regarding the agent. “Southwest Airlines maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or assault and fully supports our Employee as we cooperate with local authorities regarding this unacceptable incident.”

The incident comes as a growing number of concerning behaviors has been exhibited by passengers toward flight attendants and other airline employees. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Nov. 10 that more than $225,000 in fines have been handed out for 10 airline passengers accused of assault since the start of 2020.

The FAA stated that it has received more than 100 reports of passenger disturbances involving physical assault since the start of 2021. Its zero-tolerance policy seeks to stop incidents with passengers.

The new effort has helped the number of incidents drop significantly, according to the FAA.

In its largest fine of 2021, a $32,000 fine was levied against a passenger over an incident during a May 18 Horizon Air flight to San Francisco from Austin, Texas. The FAA alleged that the passenger didn’t follow crew instructions to fasten her seat belt.

“She punched and screamed at her husband and son, repeatedly, diverting flight attendants from their duties. She threw trash at a flight attendant, and snatched cookies from a nearby passenger,” an FAA report on the incident reads.

Four of the other largest fines were triggered over noncompliance regarding the mask mandate.

In July, Conde Nast Traveler reported that 85 percent of flight attendants said they’ve dealt with an unruly passenger within the past year, according to a survey from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

As of Nov. 9, the FAA has filed 5,114 unruly passenger reports in 2021, with 3,710 of the incidents being mask-related.

Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.