Authorities are investigating an assault that occurred on a United Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport. Witnesses say a passenger became violent and repeatedly punched a crew member over a seat assignment before the flight was scheduled to take off on Sunday.
The passenger, identified as a 42-year-old man from Texas, was cited for battery and released. In response, United Airlines called the behavior “unacceptable” and announced that the passenger has been banned from future United flights.
“This customer’s behavior was unacceptable,” United said in a statement. “We are working with local law enforcement in their investigation. We’re grateful to our team for their professionalism and for looking out for the safety of our customers and their fellow United employees.”
Flight attendants and other airline personnel have faced an uptick in unruly and even violent behavior from passengers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received more than 3,000 reports of unruly behavior from passengers this year, and has proposed more than $1 million in fines against such passengers.