On Monday, MEAWW reported on a viral series of TikTok videos showing a man on a United Airlines flight yelling, pushing, and threatening passengers and flight crew after being told to wear a face mask and disable his phone for takeoff.
"He was seen screaming at the flight attendant and saying that he 'didn't even want to go to Cali,'" said the report. "He kept saying that before removing his face covering. The man also threatened the crew member who intervened, saying that he would find out his personal information. He said, 'I will find your name, date of birth, and address. I will know your Social Security number before I get off this plane.'"
"The man then left his seat while pushing another fellow flyer out of his chair and into the aisle," continued the report. "He asked the attendant what 'the law's gonna do,' and when another passenger got up to help the staff, the man screamed at him and asked him to 'mind his business' or he'll 'break your neck.'"
The incident is one of several in a rising epidemic of unruly passengers threatening and physically harming flight crew and other passengers — driven in large part by resistance to COVID-19 safety rules to prevent infection from spreading on aircraft. In another well-publicized recent incident, a visibly intoxicated passenger on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City gnawed on his mask and growled like an animal after shouting that an Asian woman "didn't belong here." In another, a passenger had to be duct-taped to his seat to stop him groping flight attendants, after which he yelled that his parents were worth millions.
Between February and May alone, airlines referred over 1,300 incidents to the Federal Aviation Administration, which has vowed to crack down on violent passengers and has already issued hundreds of thousands in fines against offenders.