The passenger is said to have charged down the jetway and onto the aircraft where he proceeded to damage flight controls and, after a pilot tried to stop him, attempted to jump out of an open window.
Crew members are said to have intervened and the man, who was not immediately identified, was promptly arrested by local authorities. There were no reported injuries.
“We applaud our outstanding crew members for their professionalism in handling a difficult situation,” American Airlines said in a statement.
The damaged plane, a Boeing 737-800, which carried 121 passengers and six crew members onboard, was grounded at Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The airline revealed that they felt that a replacement plane needed to be sent in.
Following the replacement plane, another plane was scheduled to depart at 9:30 pm local time.
The event comes at a time when evaluations concerning onboard aircraft misconduct are being looked into. It is said that the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened more than 1,000 misconduct investigations last year, up from 183 in 2020 and 146 in 2019.
The reported sharp increase in altercations with aggressive and violent passengers over the last year has interfered with US airline workers and government agencies more than ever.
In response to the notable rise in aggressive behavior, the FAA have responded by imposing a “zero tolerance” policy which, in 2021, amounted to over US $1 million fines for unruly passengers.
There is further pressure on the aviation industry as several US airlines will need to reduce and have in some cases already cancelled flights due to a rise in some 3000 employees currently being infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.