A Southwest Airlines flight was a scene of chaos on Monday when punches and curses were thrown by an unruly passenger during the boarding process.
Video of the incident was captured by a witness, who said the violent outburst may have been triggered because a man bumped into the assailant’s wife. This latest incident is one of many disruptions to affect air travel this week.
Passengers were boarding Flight 117 at Dallas Love Field Airport, bound for Phoenix, when a man in a tan blazer confronted another man, already in his seat, and started pummelling him, according to passenger Caitlin Johnson, 32, who spoke to NBC and CNN.
Moments earlier, the man in the tan blazer had asked the other person what his address was, “and he actually gave him the address,” Johnson said.
“Then (the man in the tan blazer) just started punching him.”
The assailant put the man in a headlock and yelled obscenities at him as passengers tried to intervene. Video of the incident showed that witnesses were able to pull the two men apart, but the man in the tan blazer swung at him yet again.
Johnson said the victim was seated and was in no position to defend himself from the punches.
“He probably punched the guy a good four times before anyone started recording,” she said.
In a separate video, after the altercation, the man in the tan blazer alleges that the victim hurt his family.
“Tell them what you did,” he yells. “I will sit down in jail for you approaching my family.”
Johnson said she spoke to other travellers on the flight and learned that the man who was attacked accidentally bumped into the wife of the man in the tan blazer.
“The blazer guy just kind of lost it, he snapped, he was triggered by that,” Johnson said. “People waiting said that blazer guy started mouthing off to him (after the bump) outside the plane and he just ignored him.”
Both men left the plane before takeoff, but Johnson said the man who was attacked didn’t want to leave.
“Someone came up to the … guy and said, ‘Sir you have to get off the plane, you need medical attention,'” Johnson said. “He said, ‘I can’t, I have to go to work.’ But he got off.”
“His face was swollen like a baseball, he was in rough shape,” she added.
Dallas police said they responded to the incident but no arrests were made.
Southwest Airlines said they commend their crew for “managing the situation as safety professionals while also ensuring the comfort of the other passengers in the cabin.”
“We don’t have further details to share, except that the flight arrived on time and as scheduled.”
This latest incident in the air follows a week of similar chaotic episodes occurring during air travel.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was arrested Monday after allegedly stabbing a United flight attendant after attempting to open an emergency exit in mid-air.
On Sunday morning, a Southwest Airlines flight heading to Florida was struck by a group of birds causing the cabin to fill with smoke and forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.