Passengers Arrested After Attacking Airline Agents

Clash began over size of carry-on bags
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2021 4:47 PM CST
Airline Says Passengers Attacked Its Agents
A line of Spirit Airlines jets sit on the tarmac in Orlando last May.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Two agents were injured and two passengers were arrested after a clash at Detroit Metro Airport. The agents had blocked the passengers from boarding a Sunday flight to Atlanta "without authorization," Spirit Airlines said. "This was not a fight," the airline said in a statement. "Describing it as a fight is untrue to our agents. In actuality, three passengers attacked our agents without provocation." It began when the employees asked the passengers to show that their carry-on bags did not exceed size requirements, ABC reports. The agents tried to "calmly defuse the situation," Spirit said, but when they closed a door to keep the passengers from boarding, they "were physically assaulted."

A video shows an agent being punched and knocked down, per WJBK. One of the agents was taken to a hospital for treatment. "This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business," Spirit said. The passenger who was not taken into custody was cited and released. All three were banned by the airline in the future. The FAA has said it plans to increase punishment for passengers who become disorderly, per ABC, imposing prison sentences and fines as high as $35,000. (More unruly passenger stories.)

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