An American Airlines flight attendant hit an ‘unruly passenger’ in the head with a coffee pot as he tried to open the plane’s exit door

Feb 15, 2022, 10:14 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:18 pm
this story only...
this story only

(CNN) — An American Airlines flight was diverted to Kansas City International Airport in Missouri on Sunday afternoon because of “an unruly passenger,” the airline said in a statement.

“American Airlines flight 1775 with service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) diverted to Kansas City (MCI) due to an unruly passenger,” the statement, provided to CNN, said.

“The flight landed safely at MCI at 2:28 p.m. local time, and law enforcement was requested to meet the flight on arrival,” it added. “We’re grateful to our crew members, who are consistently dedicated to the safety and care of our customers and who handled the circumstances with the utmost skill and professionalism.”

Kansas City Aviation Department spokesperson Joe McBride told CNN there was a “passenger interfering with the flight crew,” adding the incident will be under the jurisdiction of the FBI.

The FBI confirmed the incident in a statement to CNN, adding the individual in question had been taken into custody.

The passenger, a 50-year-old man, has been charged with one count of assaulting and intimidating a flight attendant and thereby interfering in the performance of the flight attendant’s duties, according to a US Justice Department news release.

The man will remain in federal custody until a detention hearing is scheduled, the release said.


Flight attendants and passengers subdued passenger


The man, who is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 240 pounds, told flight attendants “people were attempting to hurt him and they followed him on the plane,” according to an affidavit of the incident.

The man went on to tell flight attendants “he heard the individuals harming his family over the telephone,” the affidavit said. When asked what the individuals looked like, the passenger told flight attendants one was sitting next to him on the plane and another had a knife.

A flight attendant took the man’s phone and saw he tried to call 911, but couldn’t get through, the affidavit said.

Minutes after being seated, the man asked for a cup of water and then walked to the cockpit area of the plane, “and told the flight attendants that they were not flying and that the flight attendants were lying to him.” A flight attendant used a beverage cart to create distance between her and the passenger, the affidavit said.

The man then grabbed some plastic silverware, removed the napkin around it and placed the silverware in his shirt sleeve “holding it like a shank,” the Justice Department news release said. A flight attendant told investigators he felt threatened by the knife.

“(The man) then grabbed a small champagne bottle by the neck of the bottle and attempted to break the bottle on the counter. He began kicking and shoving the service cart into one of the flight attendants,” the release said.

The man then attempted to pull open the plane’s exit door, the release said.

“A flight attendant grabbed a coffee pot and hit (the man) twice in the head with it,” the release said. “Several passengers came forward to assist the flight attendants.”

One of those passengers was a police officer, who pulled the man away from the door. One passenger punched the man in the jaw and another one grabbed him by the neck and pulled him to the floor, the release said.

Flight attendants told investigators they did not serve the man any alcohol during the flight.

Mouaz Moustafa, a resident of Washington, DC, was aboard the flight and told CNN when the flight landed, police and the FBI came onboard. Passengers were rescheduled on another flight.

According to FAA data, 2021 was a bad year for unruly airplane passenger behavior in the United States, with 5,981 reports of unruly passengers logged by the agency as of December 31. Of those, 4,290 — nearly 72% — were mask-related incidents.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan, NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A good Samaritan, who was at the right place at the right time, and a team of New York City officers who rushed on scene rescued a man who fell on the subway tracks just seconds before an incoming train arrived, police said.
1 day ago
"White Christmas" is a movie that has a lot of behind-the-scenes lore. (Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstoc...
AJ Willingham, CNN

The secrets behind your favorite Christmas movie classics

Watching Christmas movies is a whole tradition unto itself. Get to know some of the fascinating stories behind the stories so you can watch your old favorites with fresh eyes.
1 day ago
A memorial is seen at the site of a fatal shooting in a Walmart on November 23, 2022 in Chesapeake,...
Ben Finley and and Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

Authorities investigating the fatal shootings of six people at a Walmart said that the shooter bought the gun just hours before and left a note with grievances against coworkers on his phone.
1 day ago
A Ford sign sits outside of a dealership on January 25, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Ford Motor Co. a...
Associated Press

Ford recalls over 634K SUVs due to fuel leaks and fire risk

Ford is recalling over 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or leak vapors onto a hot engine and cause fires.
1 day ago
The Twitter headquarters signage as seen on 10th Street on November 4, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif...
Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk says that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
1 day ago
Discount signs are displayed on products at a Macy's store during Black Friday on November 25, 2022...
Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer

Inflation hovers over shoppers heading into Black Friday

Black Friday marks a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, but inflation is weighing on consumers.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
An American Airlines flight attendant hit an ‘unruly passenger’ in the head with a coffee pot as he tried to open the plane’s exit door