Photo Credit: American Airlines NAACP
Watch: Two American Airlines Passengers Detained For Fight Over Reclined Seat
The two men, who were reportedly arrested in Austin on Aug. 1 following the incident, got physical shortly after the plane landed. Eyewitnesses told CBS Austin, two men started verbally assaulting each other after a seat was stuck in the reclined position.
A video obtained by KXAN began circulating online showing the men throwing blows as both passengers and flight crew attempted to intervene.
It was pure chaos for people on board as urgent calls were being made to “clear the aisle” and flight crews asking people to return to their seats.
“On Sunday, Aug. 1, law enforcement was requested to meet American Eagle flight 4698, operated by Republic Airways, after arriving at Austin (AUS) from New Orleans (MSY) due to an altercation between passengers,” a spokesperson for American Airlines confirmed.
It remains unclear if they were charged and American Airlines declined to answer if the men would be banned from flying with the carrier permanently.
The Federal Aviation Administration has reported at least 3,615 incidents of unruly passengers between January and June 2021.
Flight attendants have had enough and urging the federal government to step in. Nearly one in five flight attendants say they have witnessed physical incidents involving passengers this year, and their union is calling for criminal prosecution of these passengers, the AP reports.
The repercussions for passengers who engage in unruly behavior can be substantial as they can be fined by the FAA or prosecuted on criminal charges, the FAA warns.
As part of the FAA‘s Reauthorization Bill, the FAA can propose up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases. Previously, the maximum civil penalty per violation was $25,000. One incident can result in multiple violations.
See CBS Austin’s video clip below: