“Unruly” Passenger Accused of Assaulting Flight Attendant on Interisland Flight
September 23, 2021, 1:24 PM HST
* Updated September 23, 1:30 PM
A Hawaiian Airlines Flight returned to Honolulu after an “unruly passenger,” allegedly assaulted a flight attendant.
The incident was reported on flight HA152, which departed Honolulu for Hilo at 7:30 a.m.
“Soon after departure, a passenger assaulted one of our flight attendants, who was walking the aisle, in an unprovoked incident,” according airline spokesperson Alex Da Silva.
The pilot returned the aircraft to Honolulu, where the passenger deplaned and was met by authorities.
“We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience and appreciate their cooperation,” said Da Silva.
The aircraft then departed Honolulu at 9:09 a.m., with a 10:03 a.m. scheduled arrival in Hilo.
Airline representatives say the flight attendant was evaluated and released from work to rest.
US Senator Brian Schatz, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, released a statement following the incident calling the attack “reprehensible.”
“I’ve been in direct contact with Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has assured me that this incident will be fully investigated by the FAA. The assailant must be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of despicable attack,” said Sen. Schatz.
Airline representatives say they will continue to support authorities with the investigation.
As of Sept. 21, the Federal Aviation Administration reports there were 4,385 unruly passenger reports so far this year. The FAA reports that there have been 3,199 mask related incidents reported over the same period.
According to the FAA, it can propose up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases under its Reauthorization Bill of 2018. Previously, the maximum civil penalty per violation was $25,000.