A woman duct-taped to her seat on an American Airlines flight to Charlotte in July has been handed to largest fine to date for an unruly passenger, The Charlotte Observer reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the woman fell into the aisle and threatened to hurt a flight attendant. She then pushed the flight attendant aside and tried to open the cabin door. Flight attendants tried to restrain the woman, but she repeatedly hit one attendant in the head and even tried to bite crew members.
She was fined $81,950.
In a now-deleted video that was posted to TikTok, the woman could be heard screaming, “You! You! You!” as passengers exited American Airlines Flight 1774 past her.
The flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Charlotte, NC, had been delayed for at least three hours before it finally took off at midnight, but the woman started acting up about an hour into the flight, TikTok user @lol.ariee said in subsequent videos.
Flight attendants began turning on the lights inside the airplane “and we see all flight attendants running up and down the aisles, frantically kind of like whispering to each other,” @lol.ariee said, adding that the plane’s crew began locking bathrooms, grabbing bags from overhead bins, but wouldn’t tell passengers what was happening.
“It was just kind of like chaos and no one knows what’s going on,” @lol.ariee continued.
Just before the plane landed, a flight attendant said that a woman with an apparent mental issue “had an outburst and like, had the urge to get off the plane. And she was saying, ‘I need to get off this plane,’ and she went up to the exits and started banging on the doors, saying, ‘You need to let me off this plane!’”
“I guess it took all five flight attendants to subdue her and like literally take her down so,” @lol.ariee said. “They pretty much took her down, put her in the seat and duct taped her.”
Reports of unruly airline passengers jumped in 2021, mostly related to alcohol consumption or mask mandates. Last year, the FAA conducted 1,099 investigations into unruly passenger reports, compared to 183 in 2020 and 146 in 2019. This year, the FAA has launched 309 investigations into unruly passenger reports.