U.S. NEWS

Flight Attendants Duct-Tape Man To Seat After He Allegedly Groped, Punched Crew

Frontier Airlines put the flight attendants who restrained the unruly passenger on paid leave "pending an investigation."

A wild video taken on a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami shows a passenger being duct-taped to his seat after he allegedly groped two flight attendants and punched a third in the face.

Maxwell Berry, 22, has been arrested and charged with three counts of battery in connection to the Saturday incident, local news station WPLG reported.

Witness Alfredo Rivera shot video that shows Berry yelling and cursing at people around him and punching a man before subsequently being strapped into his seat with tape.

“He started to get aggressive and basically attack the male flight attendant,” Rivera told WPLG.

According to an arrest report obtained by ABC 7, Berry had two drinks on the flight before spilling one on his shirt and taking the shirt off in the bathroom. He then allegedly wandered around shirtless before groping the chests of two female flight attendants, then punching the male attendant who came over to keep him under control.

Frontier sent a statement to HuffPost, noting that the flight attendants involved will be “relieved of flying” until an investigation into what happens is finished:

During a flight from Philadelphia to Miami on July 31, a passenger made inappropriate physical contact with a flight attendant and subsequently physically assaulted another flight attendant. As a result, the passenger needed to be restrained until the flight landed in Miami and law enforcement arrived. The flight attendants will be, as required in such circumstances, relieved of flying pending completion of investigation of the events.

After the airline began receiving criticism over suspending the flight attendants, including a statement from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union, a Frontier spokesperson told HuffPost that the flight attendants were being paid while on leave.

“The inflight crew members’ current paid leave status is in line with an event of this nature pending an investigation,” the spokesperson said.

In an earlier statement obtained by ABC News reporter Sam Sweeney, the airline had said the flight attendants were suspended because they did not follow “the proper policies” for restraining a passenger.

The flight attendant union had lambasted the airline for suspending its employees.

“Management should be supporting the crew at this time not suspending them,” union President Sara Nelson said in the statement. “We will be fighting this with every contractual and legal tool available, but we would hope there will be no need for that as management comes to their senses and supports the people on the frontline charged with keeping all passengers safe.”

Last month, flight attendants on a different airline also used duct tape to restrain a passenger, The Washington Post reported. On an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Forth Worth to Charlotte, a woman attempted to open the door to an airplane midflight, saying she didn’t want the plane to fly anymore. Flight attendants had first tried to calm her down, but ultimately tackled her and duct-taped her to the seat.

This story has been updated with additional comments from Frontier Airlines.