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Man Arrested After Violently Striking American Airlines Flight Attendant After Self-Upgrading to First Class

Man Arrested After Violently Striking American Airlines Flight Attendant After Self-Upgrading to First Class

A passenger onboard an American Airlines flight from Los Cabos, Mexico was arrested on arrival at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of violently assaulting a flight attendant.

The male suspect, who has been identified as Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33, was taken into custody on suspicion of interfering with a member of flight crew. If found guilty, Le faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, plus a $20,000 fine.

The violent assault allegedly occurred on American Airlines flight AA377, according to an affidavit filed in federal court when Le got up from his seat while flight attendants were conducting the inflight service and grabbed a crew member by their shoulder and demanded a cup of coffee.

Le then allegedly self-upgraded himself to First Class, and when approached by another flight attendant, Le stood up with his fists clenched and swung at the crew member.

The flight attendant turned his back and walked towards the front galley to inform the Captain when Le charged toward the crew member and punched him in the back of the head.

In a video taken by a passenger onboard, the flight attendant is seen stumbling forward. He then gets a trolley to create a barrier between the galley and the cabin while another flight attendant arms herself with bright yellow flexicuffs.

Several First Class passengers jump up from their seats to help the flight attendants, and in a video taken by Australian radio show host Kent ‘Smallzy’ Small, the suspect is seen restrained in flexicuffs a short time later.

“American Airlines flight 377 with service from San José del Cabo (SJD) to Los Angeles (LAX) was met by law enforcement upon arrival due to an unruly passenger who physically assaulted a flight attendant. The aircraft landed safely and taxied to the gate where law enforcement removed the individual,” the airline said in a detailed statement.

“Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future, and we will work closely with law enforcement in their investigation,” an American Airlines spokesperson said.

“We thank our crew for their quick action and professionalism to ensure the safety of their fellow team members and customers on board. 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.”

As of September 20, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received 1,973 official reports about unruly passengers since the start of the year. Of those reports, the FAA has initiated 680 investigations and proceeded with its own enforcement action in 468 cases.

Despite the sharp increase in travel demand in 2022, the number of unruly incidents is still set to fall below 2021’s levels when the FAA was inundated with nearly 6,000 official complaints.

In 2021, the FAA slapped unruly passengers with more than $5 million in civil penalties as part of a zero-tolerance campaign to turn the tide on disruptive inflight incidents.

This article has been updated with unruly passenger data provided by the FAA, as well as new details about the suspect and an updated version of events based on an FBI affidavit.

View Comment (1)
  • Hoooollleeeeee Cow!!!

    The young man in the 2nd video–cracks me up. His fists were clenched ready to assist!! THANK YOU YOUNG MAN!!!!

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