HomeUSAPassenger who allegedly punched American Airlines flight attendant charged in Los Angeles...

Passenger who allegedly punched American Airlines flight attendant charged in Los AngelesOUS News

A man who was seen punching the back of the head of a flight attendant on an American Airlines plane was arrested after the plane landed in Los Angeles.

Authorities on Thursday (AEST Friday) accused Alexander Tung Cuu Le of interfering with a flight crew. Le of Westminster, California, faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The incident occurred on a plane bound for Los Angeles International Airport from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, on Wednesday.

The passenger was arrested after he was seen punching a flight attendant on a US flight. (Twitter)

Video released by another passenger showed a man running after a male flight attendant and punching him as the crew walked in the other direction.

Shortly after takeoff, Le grabbed another flight attendant by the shoulders and asked for coffee, according to the testimony of an FBI agent. He was told to wait.

When Le, 33, took a seat from the back of the plane near the first-class cabin, the male flight attendant asked her to return to her assigned seat.

Instead, Le stood in a two-fisted fighting stance and waved his arm at the crew member, according to sworn testimony, but missed.

The flight attendant was on his way to report the incident to the pilot when he was shot in the back of the head.

According to the FBI agent, several passengers “caught” Le and cuffed her hands and legs with restraints provided by a different flight attendant.

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The injured flight attendant, who spent the rest of the flight with an ice pack on his head, was hospitalized.

The president of the Professional Flight Attendants Association, the association that represents American cabin crews, said the passenger exhibited “dangerous, life-threatening behavior”.

“Fortunately, the crew and passengers suppressed the passenger and the plane landed safely,” union official Julie Hedrick said.

“This violent behavior jeopardizes the safety of all passengers and crew and needs to be stopped.”

Airline spokesperson Curtis Blessing said American prohibited the man from traveling on the airline. He said the Americans were helping law enforcement investigate the incident.

Check-in to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP via Getty Images)

According to Federal Aviation Administration figures, airlines have reported nearly 2,000 cases involving unruly passengers this year, up from about 6,000 last year, despite a 38 percent increase in U.S. air passengers.

Most incidents in 2021 and early 2022 involved passengers refusing to wear face masks, but the federal requirement for mask use on airplanes and public transportation was overturned by a federal judge in April.

Government figures, though rare, do not show how often things turned violent.

The most notorious case involved a young woman who broke some of her teeth when she punched a Southwest flight attendant on a plane in California. The woman was sentenced to 15 months in prison.