An American Airlines flight was diverted and forced to perform an emergency landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (AMA) after a passenger was declared a Level 2 security threat when he allegedly punched a flight attendant in the face.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a Level 2 security threat pertains to a passenger’s physically abusive behavior.
American Airlines flight 1497 took off from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on January 3, 2024 and was headed for Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN).
According to court documents, a passenger complained to a flight attendant about the passenger seated behind who had been violently kicking his seat.
When the flight attendant tried to intervene, the unruly passenger, identified as Keith Edward Fagiana, aged 61, swore at the flight attendant and punched him in the stomach. Fagiana allegedly stood up and punched the flight attendant three more times.
The flight attendant, with the help of other passengers, then tackled Fagiana and managed to restrain him.
The flight was diverted and landed safely at BZN airport, where airport officers boarded the plane.
As Fagiana was being placed in handcuffs, he allegedly kicked one officer in the groin and spat on them, prompting the escorting officers to put a spit hood over his face.
When Fagiana was later questioned by officers, he claimed to not remember anything about the flight, but admitted to drinking Captain Morgan’s rum before boarding.
According to a June 2023 report by Fortune passenger rage is not just attributed to stress and anxiety but also passengers drinking at airport bars while waiting to board or when flights are delayed.