Frontier passenger arrested after striking flight attendant with phone

An unruly passenger on a Frontier flight from Denver to Tampa was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly striking a flight attendant.

“As Flight 708 from Denver to Tampa was awaiting departure early this morning, a customer became belligerent onboard and was asked to deplane. As she was deplaning, she picked up an intercom phone and struck a flight attendant with it,” Frontier Airlines said in an emailed statement.

Denver Police arrested the passenger and cited her for assault before releasing her and helping her book another flight to Tampa, according to Denver 7 Colorado News.

The incident occurred around 3:55 a.m. After a delay of nearly four hours from its scheduled departure time, the Frontier flight left at around 5:30 a.m., according to FlightAware.

The pandemic caused a nearly 500% surge in unruly airline passenger incidents, with nearly 6,000 cases in 2021 due primarily to disputes over mask-wearing, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Although pandemic-related restrictions have eased, there were still 2,395 cases last year.

In testimony before Congress earlier this year, the acting administrator of the FAA, Billy Nolen, reiterated that the zero-tolerance policy on unruly behavior issued in early 2021 remains in effect. That policy allows for criminal charges and fines of up to $37,000 per violation for anyone who disrupts a flight.

Although airlines will ban disruptive customers, the Association of Flight Attendants International said the carriers are not sharing information with each other and it is calling for a national no-fly list to remove flight privileges for unruly passengers.

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