A woman passenger who refused to wear her mask correctly was kicked off a Delta flight after she punched a flight attendant in the face. The unidentified passenger can be seen confronting a flight attendant and then landing a punch in her face in a video shared by another passenger, BBC journalist Suzanne Kianpour, on Monday. The video has since gone viral.
The woman was asked to wear the mask in line with the airline's policy to stop the spread of the virus. However, she refused to do so and the altercation began. This isn't an isolated incident. Airlines have been time and again facing problems with irate passengers who refuse to comply with the safety guidelines set by carriers to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Aggressive and Insensitive
The fight broke out on a Delta flight from Miami to Atlanta wherein the woman passenger got agitated and entered into a heated argument on with a flight attendant. The video posted by Kianpour shows the raging passenger, who was wearing her face mask around her neck, getting closer to the flight attendant before eventually lunging forward at her.
Then she can be seen suddenly slapping the female flight attendant in the face, as onlookers watch on. "She's in her face. Oh lord, oh lord" said a woman behind the camera before the passenger strikes the employee. "You can't be hitting a flight attendant!" another passenger can be heard shouting.
Another passenger, Lauryn England, captured another video, where the irate passenger can be seen wearing her mask around her neck. "You shouldn't have touched me. You pushed me," the woman could be heard saying as a male travel companion stuck his finger in the employee's face.
The argument and altercation started after the flight requested the woman to wear her face mask properly, in line with Delta policy. The woman was reportedly uncontrollable and police had to be summoned. Cops finally boarded the plane to remove the passenger, but then another hold-up on the tarmac involving the passengers delayed the flight even longer.
Another journalist, Kitty Kay, who was also on the flight, tweeted: "So, Miami police had to board this flight before someone who refused to wear a mask for a 1 hour 45 minute flight would get off the plane so we can push back out and take off, 3 hours late. Poor flight crew."
The woman passenger and another flyer who too didn't comply with the safety guidelines were finally removed from the flight but Miami-Dade Police said no arrests have been made in connection with the incident. "There is nothing more important than the safety of our people and customers. That's why two customers who did not comply with crew safety instructions were asked to deplane Flight 1997 this evening," Delta said.
An investigation into the incident has been launched. Airlines have been facing a daunting job managing unruly passengers who either don't wear mask or comply with the other safety guideline introduced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Several viral videos and photos have been created in recent months as air travel has resumed around the world while coronavirus continues to spread. Several airlines have announced widespread bans of customers who have refused to follow new mask policies.