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Growling passenger arrested after removing mask, demanding to be let off plane

By The Washington Post Sep 10, 2021

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By Hannah Sampson

Add growling to the list of unruly behaviour on planes lately.

The American Airlines jet was still flying, but a 61-year-old passenger appeared to think it had landed, which caused him to become irate and growl at flight attendants.

“You can’t hold us!” he argued while standing in the aisle during the flight on Monday, according to video captured by another passenger.

A member of the crew ordered the man to sit down and stay in his seat. He staggered backward and then invoked the current president.

“Joe Biden!” he said. “Really?”

The video showed the man continue to protest before sitting in his aisle seat, holding his mask and baring his teeth while growling. He continued to growl while biting his mask and dragging it up and down over his face. Later, he is shown standing in the aisle again and appearing to tell the rest of the plane that they were “all being used as pawns.”

The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a statement that it received information at 12:48 p.m. about an intoxicated passenger aboard the flight.

Police boarded the plane, took the passenger into custody and escorted him off. Paramedics took him to a hospital.

“Airline staff described the passenger … as being combative while on the flight,” a police department news release said.

The news release said officers cited the passenger for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was just the latest example of disruptive behaviour by air travellers this year, as reports have soared to unprecedented numbers.

The Federal Aviation Administration has received 4,184 reports of unruly passenger behaviour since the beginning of the year; of those, 3,057 involved mask compliance. The agency has started investigations in 752 cases and proposed penalties in 153 so far.

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