An unruly passenger was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sucking up a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles.
Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33, was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a flight after it landed at Los Angeles International Airport. Because the incident happened in the air, the FBI took over the investigation.
Video footage shared by a passenger on social media showed a flight attendant standing in the aisle asking a passenger in an orange shirt, “Are you threatening me?”
As the American Airlines staff walked away, the unruly passenger appeared to ram the attendant from behind. People nearby could hear gasping.
A man has been arrested by Los Angeles airport police after attacking a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight from Cabo. Well-wishers helped restrain passengers until the flight landed at LAX, according to witnesses. An investigation is underway. 📹: Donald Hoover pic.twitter.com/N6JjKiOAOB
— Malik Earnest (@MalikEarnest) September 22, 2022
According to an arrest affidavit from CBS Los Angeles, prior to the incident, Le acted aggressively toward a flight attendant, grabbing him by the shoulder and demanding coffee.
The unruly passenger then walked to the front of the plane and lingered around the first-class area to take a seat. When a flight attendant asked the passenger to return to their seat, Le allegedly refused and tried to punch the staff member, but missed. He then attacked the flight attendant, as seen in the video.
The unruly passenger reportedly walked to the front of the plane again after hitting the American Airlines staff member, but was stopped by other passengers.
Le’s arms and legs were cuffed and he was moved to another row. However, he kept unbuckling his seat belt, causing the attendant to use a seat belt extender to restrain him.
American Airlines issued a statement on the attack:
American Airlines does not tolerate violence against our team members. Individuals involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us and we will be working closely with law enforcement to investigate.
CBS Los Angeles noted that Le is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
This year through Tuesday, the FAA had received 1,973 reports of unruly passengers, opened 680 investigations and initiated 468 cases of enforcement action.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter @EthanLetkeman.