An unruly passenger onboard a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami had to be duct-taped to his seat after he is alleged to have physically assaulted a male flight attendant and groped the breasts of two female flight attendants.
The flight was met on arrival by law enforcement and Maxwell Berry, 22, was arrested and charged with three counts of misdemeanour battery.
Cell phone video of the incident last Saturday showed flight attendants duct-taping Berry to his seat after his violent outburst. Witnesses claim Berry had been drinking prior to becoming disruptive and unruly.
A spokesperson for Frontier confirmed that an allegation of “inappropriate physical contact” had been made against Berry by flight attendants. When a male flight attendant stepped in, it’s claimed Berry physically assaulted him.
However, the airline said the flight attendants involved in the incident would be “relieved” from flying duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation because they didn’t follow procedure when they duct-taped him to his seat.
“He started to get aggressive and basically attack the male flight attendant,” passenger Alfredo Rivera told Local 10 News. Rivera provided cell phone footage of the incident to the news channel.
A recent survey by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) which represents Frontier crew members, revealed that 85 per cent of flight attendants had dealt with at least one unruly passenger since the start of 2021 and over half had dealt with at least five unruly passengers incidents.
Around 17 per cent of flight attendants had experienced a physical assault in the last seven months. Alcohol was cited a common reason for unruly passenger behavior, along with non-compliance with the federal face mask mandate.
A poll of flight attendants in 2018 found that sexual assault and harassment was all too common, with nearly seven out of 10 flight attendants saying they had experienced sexual harassment during their careers and 18 per cent saying they had been physically sexually assaulted in the last year.
In a statement, Frontier Airlines said: “During a flight from Philadelphia to Miami on July 31, a passenger made inappropriate physical contact with a flight attendant and subsequently physically assaulted another flight attendant.”
“As a result, the passenger needed to be restrained until the flight landed in Miami and law enforcement arrived. The flight attendants will be, as required in such circumstances, relieved of flying pending completion of investigation of the events.”
Photo Credit: Airbus / Miami Department of Correction. Case number: M-21-015862
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.