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Plane diverted after passenger assaulted flight attendant, says Delta


A Delta Air Lines flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles was forced to divert to Oklahoma City on Thursday after an unruly passenger assaulted two others onboard, the airline reported.

The passenger, described to CBSLA as a man in his 30s, became combative with a flight attendant for no apparent reason, then went on to physically assault them.

An air marshal onboard intervened and was subsequently attacked by the disruptive flyer.

Eventually the air marshal was able to restrain the man and the flight diverted to Oklahoma City Airport, where the offending passenger was arrested and taken to Oklahoma City Jail.

The officer and the flight attendant did not sustain any serious injuries and did not require hospitalization, reported CBSLA.

A statement released to press by the airline reads: “Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew and Federal Air Marshals on Delta flight 324 from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, which diverted to Oklahoma City after a customer became unruly and was removed from the flight by local law enforcement.

“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience.”

Incidents of unruly and disruptive passengers are estimated to have doubled in 2020, with the trend continuing into 2021.

In October, the US’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported handing out more than $1m (£755,771) in passenger fines this year, with around 4,837 unruly passenger reports from flight crews.

According to the FAA, mask-related incidents accounted for 3,511 of those events.

At the beginning of 2021, the FAA adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy after a dramatic rise in violent or threatening incidents.

In August, a passenger was fined $45,000 after being accused of throwing his luggage at another passenger and, while lying on the aisle floor, “grabbing a flight attendant by the ankles and putting his head up her skirt”.

Another passenger was fined $42,000 for allegedly “snorting what appeared to be cocaine from a plastic bag” in an incident in which they also made “stabbing gestures towards certain passengers”.

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