Since air travel has sort of gone back to normal, there’s been a massive uptick in complaints of unruly passengers. Sometimes they push back against mask rules. Sometimes they’re just jerks. In the case of one passenger who was taped to his chair after groping two flight attendants and punching a third, his behavior came about in part because he was drunk.
As per The New York Times, a flight on Frontier Airlines over the weekend from Philadelphia to Miami was loudly interrupted by one Maxwell Berry, a 22-year-old from Norwalk, Ohio who graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in May. According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Berry started acting up after he ordered his third alcoholic drink. While requesting another beverage, he allegedly rubbed the empty cup of the preceding one against a flight attendant’s backside, prompting her to tell him, “Don’t touch me.”
Berry soon stepped things up:
Mr. Berry, who had been sitting in seat 28D, then emerged from the bathroom shirtless after spilling his drink, prompting a flight attendant to tell him that he needed to be fully dressed, the complaint said. The flight attendant helped him get a shirt out of his carry-on luggage, and Mr. Berry walked around the cabin for about 15 minutes.
That’s when he groped the breasts of another flight attendant, who told him not to touch her and to sit down, the authorities said. In the criminal complaint, officers wrote that Mr. Berry later put his arms around the same two flight attendants and groped their breasts.
When a male flight attendant approached and asked him several times to calm down, officers said, Mr. Berry punched him in the face with a closed fist.
It was then that several passengers helped pin Berry down. A male member of the crew then used what appeared to be packing tape to secure him to a seat, where he remained for the rest of the two-hour-and-change flight.
Initially, Frontier punished their employees, saying the flight attendants had been “relieved of flying.” The move was widely criticized, considering three of them had been assaulted. Later in the day the airline released a statement, saying they have “the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight.” They did not say whether or not the suspensions had been rescinded.
As for Berry, he may wind up the latest unruly passenger fined for large sums of money. The F.A.A. has already issued fines for tens of thousands of dollars for passengers clashing with airline crew. Assaulting a flight attendant carries fines up to $35,000 and possible jail time.
One other note about Berry, from NYT:
Mr. Berry graduated in May from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he received a values in action award from the Greek life community for being a “perfect role model” and for leading “the fight to dismantle fraternity stereotypes.”