Written by 19:41 Business

Passenger Who Was Restrained With Duct Tape During Flight Faces Record Fine

An American Airlines passenger who kicked and spit at flight attendants and passengers and attempted to open the cabin door before she was secured to a seat with duct tape has been sued by the Federal Aviation Administration for $81,950, the largest-ever fine issued by the agency for unruly behavior.

The passenger, Heather Wells, 34, of San Antonio, was traveling first class from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C., on July 7, 2021, when about an hour into the flight she ordered a Jack Daniel’s and became agitated and said she “wanted out” of the plane, according to a lawsuit filed on June 3 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Ms. Wells began running toward the back of the plane, where she dropped to her knees in the aisle and began “talking incoherently to passengers, before crawling back toward the main cabin,” the lawsuit said.

When a flight attendant responded, Ms. Wells “became verbally aggressive and told the flight attendant that she would ‘hurt him’ if he didn’t get out of her way,” according to the court document.

She then pushed him and moved to the front of the plane where she “lunged toward and attempted to grab” the cabin door, “all the while screaming and yelling profanities.”

That was when two flight attendants and a passenger tried to physically restrain Ms. Wells, who struck one of the flight attendants in the head multiple times, the lawsuit said.

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Last modified: 15 June 2024
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