Last week wasn’t American Airlines’ week. But really, these past few months haven’t been great for flight crews. First, we learned about a security incident on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Miami on Wednesday in which passengers had to keep their hands visible and on their heads for over 45 minutes before landing in Miami when the plane could be met by authorities. Now we’re learning about another incident on American.
This situation occurred on Tuesday, onboard American Airlines flight 1774 from Dallas (DFW) to Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT). TikTok user @lol.ariee noted she saw the flight attendants frantically going up and down the aisle whispering and locking the bathrooms. Shortly thereafter, the pilot made an announcement in which he said all passengers needed to remain in their seats because of “a bad situation in the plane.”
Prior to landing a flight attendant told a passenger that a woman was apparently going through a mental breakdown, “had an outburst,” and attempted to get off the plane. “She was saying, ‘I need to get off this plane,’ and she went up to the exits and started banging on the doors, saying, ‘You need to let me off this plane!'” @lol.ariee said.
The woman reportedly started biting, spitting, and attacking flight attendants, which is what ultimately prompted the crew to ” duct tape her mouth and secure her to her seat.
In the video, filmed by TikTok user @lol.ariee, an unidentified woman in first class can be seen with duct tape around her chest and mouth as she attempts to scream at passengers who are departing the plane after it landed.
American Airlines told Business Insider that the passenger “attempted to open the forward boarding door and physically assaulted, bit, and caused injury to a flight attendant.” They went on to say, “we applaud our crew for their professionalism and quick effort to protect those on board.”
The TikTok user in a later video criticized the flight crew for their decision to use duct tape and thought there should have been another way to handle the situation. However, I don’t agree. Although not on board, based on the comments from the passengers it was clear the crew was in clear communication with each other and made a decision that would best protect themselves, the passengers and the aircraft until safely on the ground. You cannot rely on someone to stay seated when they’re acting in a manner that witnesses describe. During deplaning you can clearly see medical personal and authorities meeting the flight, none of which removed the duct tape before allowing the other passengers to deplane.
No one wants to see another who is struggling be forcefully secured down when it’s clear they need help, but the safety of others were at risk and, not knowing the passenger and what she may be capable of, I’m happy American stood behind the crew and their actions.