Passengers taped and restrained an Ohio man to his seat after he allegedly groped two flight attendants and punched a third attendant on a Miami-bound plane that had left Philadelphia over the weekend.
Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, was arrested and charged with three counts of battery.
Berry was on board the Frontier Airlines Flight #2239 that had left Philadelphia Saturday and was headed to Miami, Florida. Berry had ordered two alcoholic drinks and when he finished both, he ordered another drink and inappropriately brushed his empty cup against the backside of a female flight attendant, investigators said.
When the flight attendant told him not to touch her, Berry complained about his gum, placed it in a napkin and then spilled his new drink on his shirt, according to the criminal complaint. Berry then went to the bathroom and was shirtless when he got out, officials said.
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The flight attendant told Berry to put his shirt back on and helped him get a new shirt out of his carry on bag, according to the affidavit. Berry then began walking around the plane for about 15 minutes before speaking with a second female flight attendant. He then allegedly groped her breasts.
When the flight attendant told him to sit down and not touch her, Berry came up behind both female attendants and groped both of them, according to the criminal complaint.
A male flight attendant then approached Berry and asked him several times to calm down and remain seated, officials said. Berry allegedly punched the male attendant in the face. A fight ensued and both the male flight attendant and nearby passengers restrained Berry, taped him down to a seat and tied him up with a seat belt extender for the remaining flight, according to the affidavit.
Berry was then taken into custody and arrested when the flight landed in Miami on Sunday shortly before 1:30 a.m. FBI agents also responded to the scene and Berry was transported to The Miami-Dade Tgk Correctional Center without incident.
In a statement sent to NBC10, a spokesperson for Frontier Airlines said that all three flight attendants involved in the incident were suspended.
“Unfortunately, the proper policies for restraining a passenger were not followed,” the spokesperson wrote. “As a result, the flight attendants involved have been suspended pending further investigation.”
The incident marks the latest report of unruly and physically violent behavior of passengers on planes in recent months. The Federal Aviation Administration says it has received 3,715 reports of unruly behavior by passengers since the start of the year, close to 75% of them related to passengers who refuse to comply with the federal mask mandate.
The FAA is receiving about 100 reports a week, a rate that has been steady over the past several weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Incidents of violence and the uptick in unruly passenger reports has alarmed flight attendant labor unions, who have asked airlines and federal prosecutors to do more to stop the behavior.