A Frontier Airlines passenger was arrested after a flight from Philadelphia to Miami turned violent. The crew apprehended the unruly passenger but was reprimanded for their actions by the budget airline carrier. New developments via Bussiness Insider say the airline has changed its stance and is now supportive of the crew.
Maxwell Berry, 22, was arrested after inappropriately touching two female flight attendants and punched a male flight attendant.
Frontier's crew had to duct-tape the unruly man to a seat for the remaining portion of the flight until he was arrested in Miami on Saturday night. Passengers laughed and captured the incident on their smartphone cameras.
Initially, Frontier released a statement Tuesday that said the flight attendants were "relieved of flying" while an investigation into the incident is ongoing. But later in the day, airline spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told CNN that it supports the crew and will place them on paid leave.
"Frontier Airlines maintains the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight.
"We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working with law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger involved," she said.
Perhaps Frontier's stance changed after sharp criticism drew from the Association of Flight Attendants, the nation's largest flight attendants union.
The flight attendants union said as travel demand soars, airline crews face increasing mid-flight disturbances.
ABC's Sam Sweeney tweeted a video of Berry yelling at passengers about how his "parents are worth $2 million." The short video then cuts to him punching a flight attendant and ends with the kid duct-taped to the seat.
Frontier passenger allegedly touched 2 flight attendants breasts, then screamed his parents are worth $2 million, before punching a flight attendant. Frontier suspended the crew for duct taping the passenger to his seat as they landed in Miami. 22 yr old Max Berry is in custody. pic.twitter.com/4xS9Rwvafx— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
Once the plane landed, Berry was slapped with handcuffs and hauled off to Miami-Dade County Jail, where he faces three counts of battery.
Sara Nelson, the Association of Flight Attendants president, said the incident is one of the worst disruptions airline crews have had to deal with year-to-date.
"A drunk and irate passenger verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted multiple members of the crew.
"When he refused to comply after multiple attempts to de-escalate, the crew was forced to restrain the passenger with the tools available to them on board. We are supporting the crew," Nelson said.
In a separate incident, a woman was duct-taped to an American Airlines flight seat after she went mental and attempted to open the plane's door in July.
It's about time airlines support their crew members for apprehending unruly passengers. Why punish people for doing their job and protecting the lives of others?