Story at a glance

  • A cross-country flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York headed to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., was diverted to Denver on Tuesday.
  • A passenger attacked one of the flight attendants mid-air in a dispute over his mask, leaving her bleeding.
  • The passenger was arrested when the plane landed.

A cross-country flight from New York City to California was diverted after a flight attendant was assaulted mid-air Tuesday.

The American Airlines flight had departed from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and was headed to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., when a passenger attacked one of the flight attendants in a dispute over his mask. 

A passenger told CBSLA that she saw blood on the flight attendant’s face after the assault, and the flight was diverted to Denver International Airport. The passenger who assaulted her was arrested when the plane landed.


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“We are outraged by the reports of what took place on board. Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. We have engaged local law enforcement and the FBI and we are working with them to ensure they have all the information they need,” American Airlines said in a statement. “The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with American Airlines in the future, but we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

As of August 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration had received 3,889 reports of unruly passengers and issued more than $1 million in fines.


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Published on Oct 28, 2021