It’s been a wild year for violent and disruptive incidents on airplanes, and it doesn’t look to be getting any better as we head into the busy summer travel season.
A passenger on a United Airlines flight headed for Houston International Airport reportedly punched a flight attendant and tried to leave through an emergency exit before takeoff at San Francisco International Airport.
The incident was caught on camera by passenger Naya Jimenez who said it happened around midnight on May 1.
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In the clip, a man in a blue shirt can be seen pummeling a flight attendant as passengers scream “Oh my god!” and “Stop!” in horror, causing chaos before other passengers physically restrained him.
“After he paused for a minute, he ran toward where the pilot was, where the emergency exit doors are, and attempted to open it,” Jimenez told local outlet ABC 13. “He successfully opened the emergency exit and was about to jump down. The plane is elevated so he would have jumped apparently two stories to the ground, and the flight attendants just kicked in, and everybody pulled him back to safety.”
The man was later identified as 47-year-old Cody Benjamin Lovins from Texas. He was arrested for battery and has since been released.
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United Airlines confirmed the incident in a statement to ABC7NY and noted that airline officials “immediately contacted law enforcement” and cited Lovins’ behavior as a customer “being disruptive during boarding.”
It’s not the first time something like this has occurred on a domestic flight this year.
Earlier in February, a passenger on an American Airlines flight headed to Washington, D.C., attacked a flight attendant with a makeshift weapon and tried to escape through the emergency exit before being detained and arrested.
In January 2021, the Federal Aviation Agency signed a zero-tolerance order towards unruly passengers after a wave of violent onboard incidents swept through the industry.
“The agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members,” the FAA said at the time.
United Airlines was down just over 13% in a one-year period as of Wednesday afternoon.