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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Delta flight to LA diverted after passenger assaults flight attendant

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Authorities say a passenger assaulted a flight attendant and an air marshal aboard a Delta flight from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, which was diverted to Oklahoma City Thursday night.

A “combative passenger” aboard the plane assaulted a flight attendant, according to an Oklahoma City police captain who spoke with ABC News, though it’s unclear what precipitated the confrontation.

An air marshal attempted to interfere at one point but was also assaulted by the passenger, Ariel Pennington.

Around 7:40 p.m., the plane landed at Will Rogers World Airport, where he was apprehended by authorities.

The disruptive person, who was not wearing a mask, was seen arguing with another passenger on the plane in footage from the event. He was also seen being restrained and yelling while seated on video.

As officers entered the plane to take him into arrest, his hands were behind his back in plastic handcuffs. According to Oklahoma City police, Pennington was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Eyewitness News received the following statement from Delta on Thursday night:

“Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew and Federal Air Marshals on Delta flight (342) from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, which diverted to Oklahoma City after a customer became unruly and was removed from the flight by local law enforcement. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

Just after 10:30 p.m., the Delta flight arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.

The incident is still being investigated.

Delta Air Lines invited other US carriers in September to share lists of passengers who had been barred owing to their behavior during the pandemic.

The Federal Aviation Administration has suggested fines totaling more than $1 million for rowdy passengers.

Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee at the time, asked for increased criminal prosecutions of rowdy passengers during a congressional hearing.

He also believes that airport concessionaires should be prohibited from selling alcohol to passengers on the go. Criminal prosecutions are uncommon, and are largely left to the discretion of local authorities.

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