Say What Now? Southwest Passenger Arrested in Dallas After Allegedly Punching Operations Agent in the Head |

Say What Now? Southwest Passenger Arrested in Dallas After Allegedly Punching Operations Agent in the Head

A woman was arrested at the Dallas Love Field Airport on Saturday after she allegedly punched a Southwest Airlines employee in the head.

via People:

Arielle Jean Jackson, 32, was boarding a flight just after 12:30 p.m. local time when she engaged in a “verbal altercation” with an operations agent at the back of the plane, according to a statement from the Dallas Police Department obtained by PEOPLE.

After the agent asked her to leave, police say Jackson got into another verbal altercation with a second operations agent before striking the woman in the head with a closed fist. 

Officers at the airport arrested Jackson on charges of aggravated assault, per Dallas police. The second operations agent was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The agent was released the same night and is currently “at home resting,” Southwest Airlines spokesperson Chris Mainz said in a statement to PEOPLE: “Our entire Southwest Family is wishing her a speedy and full recovery as we send our thoughts, prayers, and love to her.”

The spokesperson added, “Southwest Airlines maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or assault and fully support our Employee as we cooperate with local authorities regarding this unacceptable incident.”

Incidents involving unruly passengers have been on the rise in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, Conde Nast Traveler reported that 85 percent of flight attendants said they have dealt with an unruly passenger within the last year in a survey from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Of the over 5,000 individuals polled across 30 airlines, 58 percent said they experienced at least five incidents in the first half of 2021 alone, while 61 percent reported passengers using sexist, racist or homophobic slurs against them at some point.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 5,114 reports of unruly passengers on flights over the last year as of Nov. 9. Of those incidents, 3,710 were mask-related.

The FAA says 973 investigations and 239 enforcement cases have been initiated in the last year. The agency can propose a fine of up to $37,000 per violation for unruly passenger cases.

An investigation into Saturday’s incident in Dallas is ongoing, according to police.

There needs to be a study about what the pandemic has done to people’s air travel behavior.

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