A First Class passenger onboard an American Airlines flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Charlotte was duct-taped to her seat after she allegedly tried to open an emergency exit mid-flight and then bit one of the flight attendants.
The incident occurred on Tuesday but is only now coming to light after Tik Tok footage of the aftermath started going viral. Video creator Arieana Mathena said there was “chaos” onboard the flight and that flight attendants were “frantic” as they dealt with the unruly passenger.
American Airlines has confirmed the incident with a spokesperson saying that a passenger: “attempted to open the forward boarding door and physically assaulted, bit and caused injury to a flight attendant”.
Flight 1774 was due to depart DFW at 8:55 pm on July 6 but didn’t take off until around 12:16 am. Around an hour into the flight, passengers suddenly became aware that was something was going on. From where she was sat in Economy, Arieana explains:
“It was about a two-hour flight and around 1.30 all of a sudden they started turning the lights on and we see flight attendants running up and down the aisles frantically, kind of like, whispering to each other, talking on the phone with somebody, just frantic.”
“Everyone’s kinda like ‘now we’re alert, what’s going on’. So the flight attendants weren’t saying anything, they kept running to First Class, kinda doing things, grabbing bags from the overhead,” Arieana said.
“It was kinda like chaos and nobody knew what was going on”.
“Then the pilot goes on the intercom and makes an announcement saying: ‘We ask that you guys stay in your seats for the remainder of the flights unless it’s an extreme emergency. We understand that there’s a bad situation on the plane and we’re working to fix it”.
Arieana said the pilot’s announcement unsettled some of her seatmates because they weren’t told exactly what was happening and some feared worst-case scenarios. It wasn’t long, however, before they started to hear more and more screaming coming from the First Class cabin.
Still none the wiser as to what was actually happening, it wasn’t until a flight attendant took her jumspeat for landing that Arieana and some of the other passengers found out what had happened.
“She started explaining that there was a passenger in the First Class section that they believed had autism or schizophrenia and she had an outburst and had the urge to get off the plane… She was screaming and frantic and she went up to the exits and started banging on them”.
“It took all five flight attendants to subdue her and literally take her down,” Arieana said in an explainer video.
As she got off the plane in Charlotte the woman remained strapped to her seat and paramedics waited with a stretcher outside the aircraft until all the other passengers had deplaned.
In a statement, American Airlines explained: “For the safety and security of other customers and our crew, the individual was restrained until the flight landed at CLT and could be met by law enforcement and emergency personnel.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.