SALT LAKE CITY — Police in Salt Lake City issued a criminal citation to a 61-year-old Nevada man on Monday after video showed him growling and yelling at flight attendants aboard an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles.
Authorities cited Timothy Armstrong, of Las Vegas, for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Police said they learned of the incident around 12:50 p.m. Monday, when officers got information about an intoxicated passenger on the American Airlines Flight. Officials said airline staff “described the passenger … as being combative while on the flight.”
Video of the incident posted online by Dennis Busch and obtained by KSL-TV and other news stations showed Armstrong getting out of his seat multiple times while arguing with a flight attendant. He appeared to be unsteady on his feet and at one point could be seen growling and biting on his face mask.
Busch told The Salt Lake Tribune that Armstrong began to yell about halfway through the flight, when a passenger of Asian descent, who was traveling with another person, stood up.
“He was just yelling that they don’t belong here, and asserting that that was not her seat, but it was — she was there the whole time,” Busch told the newspaper. He said flight attendants had the couple move back from the man and that he started recording the incident.
“(Armstrong) was yelling, he was swearing, he was flipping (flight attendants) off, all sorts of stuff,” Busch told the Tribune. “Then he was getting out of his seat, despite them, you know, repeatedly asking him to remain seated.”
Video recorded by Busch showed Armstrong standing as the plane prepared to land. Afterward, three police officers could be seen escorting him off the flight as Armstrong asked, “Really?”
Busch praised the flight crew for their handling of the “awful situation,” which he said made it as “uneventful as possible,” according to the Tribune.
In a statement obtained by KSTU-TV, American Airlines also praised the flight’s crew.
“We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding,” the statement said.
In May, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Ian Gregor told NPR that officials were seeing “significantly higher” numbers of unruly passenger reports. According to the FAA, officials have received more than 4,180 reports of unruly passengers since Jan. 1.
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